Exploring New Approaches to Unsettled Legal Questions

Tag: New York City Bar’s National Competition

The Prison Mailbox Rule and Represented Appellants

by Rose Kent*

The prison mail­box rule, as cod­i­fied in Fed­er­al Rule of Appel­late Pro­ce­dure 4(c), states that an incar­cer­at­ed litigant’s notice of appeal is con­sid­ered time­ly filed if it is deposit­ed in the prison’s inter­nal mail­ing sys­tem on or before the fil­ing dead­line. The Supreme Court intro­duced this rule in the con­text of a pro se pris­on­er, and it remains unclear whether rep­re­sent­ed pris­on­ers may also ben­e­fit from the rule. In this Con­tri­bu­tion, Rose Kent (’22) argues that Rule 4(c) applies to all incar­cer­at­ed peo­ple, regard­less of whether they are rep­re­sent­ed by counsel.

Rejecting the Split Personality Prosecutor

by Rahul Hari*

Can the excul­pa­to­ry tes­ti­mo­ny of a wit­ness before a grand jury be entered against the gov­ern­ment under the “For­mer Tes­ti­mo­ny” excep­tion to the ban on hearsay? Rahul Hari (’16) exam­ines this ques­tion, pre­sent­ed at the 2015 Nation­al Moot Court Com­pe­ti­tion. For excul­pa­to­ry tes­ti­mo­ny pro­vid­ed by a wit­ness before the grand jury to be admis­si­ble at a sub­se­quent tri­al in which the same wit­ness is no longer avail­able to tes­ti­fy, the pro­po­nent of that evi­dence must show that the pros­e­cu­tor had a sim­i­lar motive in devel­op­ing that witness’s tes­ti­mo­ny at the grand jury stage as she would have had if the wit­ness were now avail­able to tes­ti­fy at tri­al. This Con­tri­bu­tion argues that the broad inter­pre­ta­tion of “sim­i­lar motive,” as employed by a major­i­ty of the Cir­cuit Courts of Appeals, adheres to the text of the Fed­er­al Rules of Evi­dence, more accu­rate­ly cap­tures the mul­ti­ple motives a pros­e­cu­tor might have in ques­tion­ing a wit­ness, and pro­tects against pros­e­cu­to­r­i­al abuse.

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