You are Full of It? A Better Way to Find the Witness Lacked Credibility

Professor Eugene Volokh had this short piece in the Washington Post recently about the Michigan Court of Appeals decision in Wehbe v. Wehbe:

As a reviewing court, we rely on the trial court to make credibility assessments and we are substantially assisted when the trial court refers to such assessments on the record. However, such references should always be consistent with a court’s duty to treat the parties in a patient, dignified, and courteous manner. Assessments of credibility stated informally in phrases such as “completely full of it” and “full of it up to your eyeballs” lack dignity and courtesy and are of less assistance to this Court, as the tone suggests that the trial court may be motivated by pique rather than an objective credibility determination. We urge the trial court to use more judicious language in the future.


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