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The Finder of Fact

In the late 1990’s, Vice President Al Gore was being interviewed on CNN by Wolf Blitzer. In responding to a question about his qualifications in running for office; he replied,

“During my service in the United States Congress, I took the initiative in creating the Internet. I took the initiative in moving forward a whole range of initiatives that have proven to be important to our country’s economic growth and environmental protection, improvements in our educational system”.

Gore was criticized and even ridiculed for claiming to have “invented” the Internet. He and his supporters quickly defended him by saying that he never claimed to “having invented the Internet”. He was just discussing how supportive he was personally and through legislation in technology advancement.

When I looked at Sunday’s Richmond Times-Dispatch, I saw a link to, which analyzes statements by politicians and rates them on being true or false. The most aggregious statements are rated as “pants on fire”. The little graphic even has fake flames.

One of the political statements is a quote from U.S Representative Eric Cantor. In budget discussion he is credited with saying that, “ The National Science Foundation spent $1.2 million paying seniors to play World of Warcraft to study the impact it had on their brain.” Right next to that statement is a big “pants on fire” graphic.

I did not do any research on why or where Representative Cantor said that. Plus, maybe he was given faulty research or simply misstated what he meant to say. Maybe PolitiFact misstated their facts.

In the trial of a civil matter, juries receive instructions from the judge that is considered as the law of the case to be applied to the evidence. In many cases, plaintiff and defendant will call expert witnesses who give completely different opinions on the exact same piece of evidence.

As to expert witnesses, this is the jury instruction that is usually read to the jury,”In considering the weight to be given to the testimony of an expert witness, you should consider the basis for his/her opinion and the manner by which he/she arrived at it and the underlying facts and data upon which he/she relied.”

In law, a jury is known as the trier of fact. In our own lives, it is up to us to determine truth or fiction. We have learned that we have to do our own research before just accepting what we hear or read.

When I think of truth, I am reminded of my grandfather’s quote that I probably have written in a previous blog. Still, when I think about it it brings back a good memory.

Before bedtime, he would always insist on making sure that I brushed my teeth. Plus, he did not want me to shortcut it and miss a tooth. He would look me in the eye and say, “be true to your teeth or they will be false to you”. Good motiviation!

Tomorrow’s blog will be a follow-up on this when I discuss a trial from last week.

For pic o’ day, some truth:

Admit it

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