Mae C. Quinn


Evidence rules are written by and for adults. As a result, they largely lack the vantage point of youth and are rooted in arm’s-length assumptions about the lives and legal interests of young people. Moreover, because children have been mostly treated as evidentiary afterthoughts, they have been patched into the justice system and its procedures in a piecemeal fashion. Yet, to date, there has been no comprehensive scholarly critique of evidence principles and practices for failing to meaningfully account for youth. And the evidentiary intersection of youth and race has been almost entirely overlooked in legal scholarship. This Article, in part drawing from a range of contemporary examples including the Derek Chauvin trial, begins to provide such analysis. It suggests that evidence law and practice are not only steeped in gender and race bias but unduly adult-centric—and childist—in their orientation. Further, it recommends a more humanist reconception of court proceedings to account for all individuals as whole persons with strengths, weaknesses, vulnerabilities, and complexities in the here and now—regardless of their age or stage in life.



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.