Both Michael Stevens at Kentucky Law Blog and Ben Cowgill of SoloBlawg.com have reported their thoughts on podcasting with recent examples. I share their enthusiasm for this new media and agree it is time for Kentucky Courts to take advantage of it. Click on the headline to read the entire post.

From Kentucky Law Blog:

Tech: “Podcasting enters classroom” [U/L News]

If our state educational system can podcast in the schools, then what about Kentucky’s Supreme Court and Court of Appeals podcasting and saving the mp3s of oral arguments?

Here is a story on schools and podcasting.

Podcasting enters classroom

iPod users can download the latest music, popular television shows — and now, their professor’s most recent lecture. One of the most popular entertainment gadgets also is one of the newest educational tools…

From SoloBlawg.com

In praise of law-related podcasts: this is not your teenager’s iPod

While riding the Blue Line into downtown Chicago this morning, I listened to the March 28 oral argument to the United States Supreme Court in Hamdan v. Rumsfeld, the case that questions the legality of the Guantanamo military commissions.

How was that possible? It was possible because the Georgetown University Law Center recorded the argument and uploaded the audio file onto iTunes as a new installment of the Law Center’s podcast…

Michael, from the looks of Ben’s post it appears that at least someone is listening to you!

Diana Skaggs has started LouisvilleDivorce a blog dedicated to divorce and family law issues. You will find posts, resources, and links dedicated to that topic. Diana is a Louisville lawyer with 23 years experience in this area. I encourage you to take a look at her blog. I anticipate this will become yet another excellent resource for Kentucky lawyers, especially, those practicing in family law. I have added a link to her page in the sidebar.

Unpublished opinions

April 21, 2006

In conjunction with my earlier post mentioning my disdain for the use of unpublished opinions, comes an article from the ABA Journal’s E-report noting that the United States Supreme Court has passed a rule change to allow citation to unpublished opinions in all circuits after January 1, 2007. It remains to be seen how much weight the various circuits will give to these opinions, which have been described as “junk law.”

Evidence of Bias

April 21, 2006

The Supreme Court recently published Baker v. Kammerer, which discussed whether it was an abuse of discretion to prohibit questioning of a rebuttal witness, concerning her employment with defendant’s insurance company. Kammerer indicated that he had just received information that Baker intended on calling two witnesses. One of the witnesses had spoken to Hope Frost, the insurance adjuster employed by Kammerer’s insurance company. Later, Kammerer asked to call Frost to rebut testimony by these witnesses. At issue was whether Baker could elicit from Frost that she was employed by Kammerer’s insurance company as possible bias. The trial judge said no. The Court of Appeals did not find any abuse of discretion in his decision.

The Supreme Court noted that, “[t]he credibility of a witness’ relevant testimony is always at issue and the trial court may not exclude evidence that impeaches credibility even though such testimony would be inadmissible to prove a substantive issue in the case.” The Court ruled that “Given the fundamental importance of the ability to cross-examine as to bias and the trial court’s apparent failure to engage in any meaningful analysis under Rule 403 before prohibiting cross-examination as to Frost’s employment, we conclude that the trial court abused its discretion in this case.”

Justice Cooper, Scott and Wintersheimer dissented. Cooper pointed to Baker’s failure to truly identify the purpose of his questioning as bias. He also pointed to the record, which revealed an exchange between Baker’s counsel, Kammerer’s counsel and Frost where Kammerer’s attorney was identified as “your attorney.” (Inferring that Frost was biased towards Kammerer). Most importantly, he believed the trial court clearly conducted the KRE 403 analysis the majority found lacking in its decision.

Comment: This cases raises an interesting issue about when to call witnesses. Just because you “can” call a witness does not mean that you should. Frost’s rebuttal evidence was only slightly effective and even bolstered one witness. By calling Frost to rebut plaintiff’s witnesses, Kammerer surely put her possible bias as an employee of his insurance company at issue. While I agree with Cooper that the trial judge conducted the 403 analysis, (he clearly kept out mention of insurance as highly prejudicial), I think the rebuttal witness’ employment by the defendant’s insurance company, is probative and outweighs its prejudicial affect. This was best exemplified by the two questions the jury submitted after deliberations began; “Who is Hope Frost?” and “What’s her interest in this case?”