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Tyson vs. Pickett and the Shell Game

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Econ101

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“There’s a sucker born every day.”

The recent Pickett decision has raised many questions but like the questions USDA Secretary Johanns is asking in his farm forums, they are the wrong questions.

In my recent postings with SH--, SH-- tried to raise doubts about the logic of the Pickett case and came up with what was probably the essence of the questions that were raised behind closed doors and in Judge Strom’s mind. If you raise the wrong questions, you will get the wrong answers. SH--, care to challenge me on number 4, or is there a stripe down your back? This is the third time I have challenged you. Lets go fishing some more or do you have a bloody head in this bull session?
 

agman

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Econ101 said:
“There’s a sucker born every day.”

The recent Pickett decision has raised many questions but like the questions USDA Secretary Johanns is asking in his farm forums, they are the wrong questions.

In my recent postings with SH--, SH-- tried to raise doubts about the logic of the Pickett case and came up with what was probably the essence of the questions that were raised behind closed doors and in Judge Strom’s mind. If you raise the wrong questions, you will get the wrong answers. SH--, care to challenge me on number 4, or is there a stripe down your back? This is the third time I have challenged you. Lets go fishing some more or do you have a bloody head in this bull session?

I responded to one of your earlier posts. I have copied it over to this forum.

Econ101 wrote:
The real loser in the Pickett verdict was the U.S. economy with its dead weight losses.

Your comment..The question put was,"Did IBP/Tyson use its market power to decrease the price of all cattle for packer benefit by breaking any of the economic rules of the Packers and Stockyards Act of 1921?" The jury of 12 were to decide the answers to that question after assessing the credibility of the witnesses and the proof offered. The jury said yes. The jury thought the cattlemen's economist was credible and awarded the verdict of 1.28 billion in actual damages over the time period in question.


Respose....The problem is that the jury got it wrong-period. Regardless what you think or the jury thought Taylor proved nothing except that he had six theories none of which he tested by his own admission. Taylor's position was dismantled by the defense. While the jury did not understand how severely his claim was dismantled Judge Strom certainly did. Thus the statement by him, "I think your expert witness is nuts". I don't believe a federal judge would make that statement without strong reasons to believe that Taylor was not a credible witness. This is especially so since his comment is a matter of court record.

I am confident that Judge Strom has much more experience with these types of cases and econometric analysis than any of the twelve jurors. Legal precedent does allow the judge to dismiss the jury verdict when it is clear that they failed to understand the testimony or his instructions. To see where the minds of the jurors were one only needs to understand that they failed to understand very concise and specific instructions given by Judge Strom.

Your commnet...This case has more to do with the exercise of market power (purchasing power) to lower prices for merchants than efficiencies gained in a particular marketing mode. In economics there are what are called dead weight losses to producers and consumers when market power is excercised. You can look this up in any good textbook with monopsony models. Market power moves are slides down the supply curve to the left and down. They change the demand curve equilibrium to either a higher point leftward and upward on the demand curve when monopsonists or oligopsonists pocket the profits or they have the potential of buying more market power if they share these ill gotten gains with consumers. When they share these gains with consumers they purchase a compettitve edge against competitors they often buy more market power. When all competitors are doing the same, an act of collusion, they are buying barriers to entry to any new entrants who do not come down to that same level. It is similar to cheating in class. Cheating in a classroom did not make the class any smarter, it just made hard for those not cheating in class to compete.

Response... Have you personally ever conducted any analysis yourself that has shown a correlation with increased captive supply and lower price? I have, and the analysis shows no correlation. There are periods of increased captive supply and prices go up. There are also periods of declining captive supply when prices go up. The converse is also true. When isolating the variables the one that holds true in all periods is the correlation of price change to production change independent of the level of captive supply.

I also find it very interesting in Taylor's own testimony, which I have all copies of, that he did not find any price depressing influence in two of the latter years. Interestingly , those years were years when total demand was increasing as opposed to previous years when demand was in a precipitous nineteen year decline. The declines in total beef demand was approximately 50% during that nineteen year period. Is it possible that Taylor mistook the influence of captive supply cattle for the impact of declining beef demand? Did he test for that condition?


Your comment...It is interesting that the argument on page 18 of the 11th circuit appeals court was used incorrectly. The appellate judges, Carnes, Cox, and Mills all showed their ignorance of economic concepts by quoting the absolute defense the Robinson-Patman Act gives to a merchant. "The Robinson-Patman Act recognizes an exception and provides an absolute defense if a merchant's lower price to a purchaser "was made in good faith to meet an equally low price of a competitor."

Since cattle ranchers are on the other side of the merchant, the merchant's purchasing side, this economic concept would provide an absolute defense if a merchant paid a higher price to a seller if it was "made in good faith to meet an equally high price of a competitor."
In the Pickett case the prices in the "captive supply" were dependent on the cash market, not on the prices other competitors paid for the products in their captive contracts. If that were the case then the captive contracts would not be dependent on the cash price but on a negotiated price with competitors involved in increasing the price. Since even the court agreed in the ruling that the total market was artificially lowered and the defendents claimed that competitors engaged in the same activity, all of the competitors should be liable also. In other words, if you are stealing from the market by breaking the economic rules set forth in Section 202 then you can not claim as a defense the fact that others are stealing too. Thus, the defense is erroneous.

Resposne... Your quote.."Since even the court agreed in the ruling that the total market was artificially lowered and the defendents claimed that competitors engaged in the same activity, all of the competitors should be liable also."

You have incorrectly interperted what the court said. The court said that even if Taylor's claims were valid, the key word is "if", the case was still lost on the other positions outlined by the court. The 11th Circuit Court expressed on page 13 footnote#7 that there were serious Daubert concerns regarding Taylor's testimony. Please note that in the five page second opinion that the 11th Circuit Court refuted the plaintiffs claim that "this was a close case." The court stated quite emphatically with no uncertainty that the case was "not a close case and furthermore the plaintiffs lost on every account."

Your comment...It should be noted that marketing agreements, however beneficial to either side, were not the issue. The issue was whether the use of marketing contracts pushed down the cash price. The jury found that it did. All of the arguments for marketing agreements are esoteric to that question.

Response...You would have a valid point if Taylor's testimony in fact supported his own claim. His testimony was simply bogus, he failed to even test his own theories as to how captive supply cattle could cause the market to go lower. I assume you have the court testimony, yes or no? You appear to be very knowledgeable regarding economics and I assume econometrics. I have a simple question for you. How valid is a result if you fail to test for the validity of that result? I expect you teach your students the pitfalls of such untested conclusions.


I have replied.
 

Mike

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agman wrote:
Respose....The problem is that the jury got it wrong-period. Regardless what you think or the jury thought Taylor proved nothing except that he had six theories none of which he tested by his own admission. Taylor's position was dismantled by the defense. While the jury did not understand how severely his claim was dismantled Judge Strom certainly did. Thus the statement by him, "I think your expert witness is nuts". I don't believe a federal judge would make that statement without strong reasons to believe that Taylor was not a credible witness. This is especially so since his comment is a matter of court record.

Judge Stroms instructions to the jury:

#21 - "Regardless of what I may have chosen to say, I must admonish you that you are the sole judges of the facts, and your verdict must respond to your own conclusions from the evidence."

#5 - "You, as jurors, are the sole judges of the credibility of the witness and the weight their testimony deserves.
 

agman

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Mike said:
agman wrote:
Respose....The problem is that the jury got it wrong-period. Regardless what you think or the jury thought Taylor proved nothing except that he had six theories none of which he tested by his own admission. Taylor's position was dismantled by the defense. While the jury did not understand how severely his claim was dismantled Judge Strom certainly did. Thus the statement by him, "I think your expert witness is nuts". I don't believe a federal judge would make that statement without strong reasons to believe that Taylor was not a credible witness. This is especially so since his comment is a matter of court record.

Judge Stroms instructions to the jury:

#21 - "Regardless of what I may have chosen to say, I must admonish you that you are the sole judges of the facts, and your verdict must respond to your own conclusions from the evidence."

#5 - "You, as jurors, are the sole judges of the credibility of the witness and the weight their testimony deserves.

What other instructions did he provide that they failed to follow?
 

Econ101

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"In Tuscaloosa v. Harcros, the 11th Circuit generally reversed the district court's exclusion of proffered antitrust expert testimony and stated that many of the problems in the district court's opinion "might have been avoided had the district court simply held a Daubert hearing to allow the parties to clarify their positions, as well as the law, regarding the admissibility of these experts' testimony." Tuscaloosa at 565, n.21.

With respect to admissibility of the experts' testimony, the court affirmed that "[e]xpert testimony may be admitted into evidence if: (1) the expert is qualified to testify competently regarding the matters he intends to address; (2) the methodology by which the expert reaches his conclusions is sufficiently reliable as determined by the sort of inquiry mandated in Daubert; and (3) the testimony assists the trier of fact, through the application of scientific, technical, or specialized expertise, to understand the evidence or to determine a fact in issue. See Fed. R. Evid. 702; Daubert, 509 U.S. at 589, 113 S. Ct. at 2794. Id. at 562."

To raise Daubert issues after the trial and behind closed doors is a parlor trick by high paid economists and lawyers. These issues should not be raised as defenses; they should be remanded down to the court for further review and additional testimony or have been a part of the original trial. Agman, are you or your buddies the ones who were the experts the court relied on behind closed doors? Let the light shine in.

I admit that I did not even review any of the evidence. I was not on the jury nor involved in the case in any way. You obviously were. All my points were not dependent on this fact but the conclusions that SH brings with his arguments need more consideration than the "evidence" and silly reasoning he proffered.

I have seen too many cases where experts behind closed doors influence the decision maker. Expert testimony is not intended to confuse the average juror with math beyond their education level and should not be used behind closed doors on judges where the light of day does not shine. This judgement smacks of that.

Why don't you answer the Robinson-Patman answer by the court or did you get that one wrong too? I happen to know the person who brought up this issue inside USDA. Why was it a part of the judicial review when it had its origins in GIPSA?

Again, I did not look at the actual regression analysis but the points you made on this forum can be refuted without even looking at the evidence. Maybe we should spend a little time on this one. I would like to learn a little more about the arguments behind closed doors.

It seems that Judge Strom trumpted his own jury instructions. If that is not the judicial branch making its own rules and then changing them then I do not know what is.

I am sorry that I do not know all of the tools available to this chatroom to make these points/counterpoints more easy to follow. This is my first chatroom to be in. Lets be cognizant the problem of other people not being able to follow the points.

Since you want to take the bait Agman, let us run with it. Are you ready to go into #4 or do you still want to play the shell game?
 

agman

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Econ101 said:
"In Tuscaloosa v. Harcros, the 11th Circuit generally reversed the district court's exclusion of proffered antitrust expert testimony and stated that many of the problems in the district court's opinion "might have been avoided had the district court simply held a Daubert hearing to allow the parties to clarify their positions, as well as the law, regarding the admissibility of these experts' testimony." Tuscaloosa at 565, n.21.

With respect to admissibility of the experts' testimony, the court affirmed that "[e]xpert testimony may be admitted into evidence if: (1) the expert is qualified to testify competently regarding the matters he intends to address; (2) the methodology by which the expert reaches his conclusions is sufficiently reliable as determined by the sort of inquiry mandated in Daubert; and (3) the testimony assists the trier of fact, through the application of scientific, technical, or specialized expertise, to understand the evidence or to determine a fact in issue. See Fed. R. Evid. 702; Daubert, 509 U.S. at 589, 113 S. Ct. at 2794. Id. at 562."

To raise Daubert issues after the trial and behind closed doors is a parlor trick by high paid economists and lawyers. These issues should not be raised as defenses; they should be remanded down to the court for further review and additional testimony or have been a part of the original trial. Agman, are you or your buddies the ones who were the experts the court relied on behind closed doors? Let the light shine in.

I admit that I did not even review any of the evidence. I was not on the jury nor involved in the case in any way. You obviously were. All my points were not dependent on this fact but the conclusions that SH brings with his arguments need more consideration than the "evidence" and silly reasoning he proffered.

I have seen too many cases where experts behind closed doors influence the decision maker. Expert testimony is not intended to confuse the average juror with math beyond their education level and should not be used behind closed doors on judges where the light of day does not shine. This judgement smacks of that.

Why don't you answer the Robinson-Patman answer by the court or did you get that one wrong too? I happen to know the person who brought up this issue inside USDA. Why was it a part of the judicial review when it had its origins in GIPSA?

Again, I did not look at the actual regression analysis but the points you made on this forum can be refuted without even looking at the evidence. Maybe we should spend a little time on this one. I would like to learn a little more about the arguments behind closed doors.

It seems that Judge Strom trumpted his own jury instructions. If that is not the judicial branch making its own rules and then changing them then I do not know what is.

I am sorry that I do not know all of the tools available to this chatroom to make these points/counterpoints more easy to follow. This is my first chatroom to be in. Lets be cognizant the problem of other people not being able to follow the points.

Since you want to take the bait Agman, let us run with it. Are you ready to go into #4 or do you still want to play the shell game?

First of all, you have not proven any of my statements wrong at any point. I admire your honesty in admitting to everyone that you have not seen the testimony.

I think we can end this right here. You are taking a position without knowing anything about what was or was not presented. I am curious, how do you claim to know so much without ever seeing any of the testimony? Without actually having seen any of the testimony how do you know both courts got it wrong?

You appear very knowledgeable regarding the law. What law and/or legal precedent allows a judge to void a jury verdict? Was that law violated in this case?

Which point four do you reference?
 

Econ101

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The #4 point by SH on Economic Loss to Pickett. Hey--- are you going to leave my other questions unanswered? Do you work for GIPSA or work with them? Joann Waterfield has gotten more than one thing wrong. Is she having a little help? The court sure is by their mess up on the Robinson-Patman excuse. JoAnn and/or her stoogies could have easily made that mistake. Who is talking to these judges behind closed doors? I would love to believe their judgement was a case of an intellectual mistake instead of corruption. Prove me wrong!!! ---If you can.
 

Mike

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agman wrote:
You have incorrectly interperted what the court said. The court said that even if Taylor's claims were valid, the key word is "if", the case was still lost on the other positions outlined by the court. The 11th Circuit Court expressed on page 13 footnote#7 that there were serious Daubert concerns regarding Taylor's testimony. Please note that in the five page second opinion that the 11th Circuit Court refuted the plaintiffs claim that "this was a close case." The court stated quite emphatically with no uncertainty that the case was "not a close case and furthermore the plaintiffs lost on every account."

From Court documents:
"This matter before the court on defendant IBP's motion to strike plaintiffs expert witness for failure to satisfy the Daubert standard. On March 13, 2003 the Court held a Daubert hearing at which both parties presented evidence.

In determining whether the expert testimony will assist the jury, a key question is ordinarily whether the theory or technique can be, tested.

According to the 11th Circuit, a trial court's focus should be on the expert's methodology and it's application, not on the expert's conclusions.

IBP does not seem to quarrel with the methodology Dr. Taylor used; regression analysis is a commonly accepted method of reaching such conclusion. Although the methodology itself is reliable, IBP contends that Dr. Taylor's application of such methodology is unreliable and does not meet the Daubert test.

As indicated in his Second Statement under Penalty of Perjury, Dr. Taylor conducted numerous tests which appear to confirm the reliability
of his conclusion.

As this is merely a factual dispute regarding the basis of Dr. Taylor's opinion, the court finds that this question is best left to a jury."
 

Econ101

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The #4 point by SH on Economic Loss to Pickett. Hey--- are you going to leave my other questions unanswered? Do you work for GIPSA or work with them? Joann Waterfield has gotten more than one thing wrong. Is she having a little help? The court sure is by their mess up on the Robinson-Patman excuse. JoAnn and/or her stoogies could have easily made that mistake. Who is talking to these judges behind closed doors? I would love to believe their judgement was a case of an intellectual mistake instead of corruption. Prove me wrong!!! ---If you can.
 

Mike

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agman said:
Mike said:
agman wrote:
Respose....The problem is that the jury got it wrong-period. Regardless what you think or the jury thought Taylor proved nothing except that he had six theories none of which he tested by his own admission. Taylor's position was dismantled by the defense. While the jury did not understand how severely his claim was dismantled Judge Strom certainly did. Thus the statement by him, "I think your expert witness is nuts". I don't believe a federal judge would make that statement without strong reasons to believe that Taylor was not a credible witness. This is especially so since his comment is a matter of court record.

Judge Stroms instructions to the jury:

#21 - "Regardless of what I may have chosen to say, I must admonish you that you are the sole judges of the facts, and your verdict must respond to your own conclusions from the evidence."

#5 - "You, as jurors, are the sole judges of the credibility of the witness and the weight their testimony deserves.

What other instructions did he provide that they failed to follow?

You, the Jury, shall NOT find Tyson guilty of a single offense! :wink:
 

agman

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Econ101 said:
The #4 point by SH on Economic Loss to Pickett. Hey--- are you going to leave my other questions unanswered? Do you work for GIPSA or work with them? Joann Waterfield has gotten more than one thing wrong. Is she having a little help? The court sure is by their mess up on the Robinson-Patman excuse. JoAnn and/or her stoogies could have easily made that mistake. Who is talking to these judges behind closed doors? I would love to believe their judgement was a case of an intellectual mistake instead of corruption. Prove me wrong!!! ---If you can.

What evidence do you have that anyone talked to the judge of judges behind close doors as you imply? If both courts got it wrong then this should be a slam dunk for an accepted appeal to the Supreme Court. I have stated previously the chance of that is as close to zero as one can get. If I am wrong I will send a $1000 to a children's charity of your choice. What say you?
 

agman

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Econ101 said:
The #4 point by SH on Economic Loss to Pickett. Hey--- are you going to leave my other questions unanswered? Do you work for GIPSA or work with them? Joann Waterfield has gotten more than one thing wrong. Is she having a little help? The court sure is by their mess up on the Robinson-Patman excuse. JoAnn and/or her stoogies could have easily made that mistake. Who is talking to these judges behind closed doors? I would love to believe their judgement was a case of an intellectual mistake instead of corruption. Prove me wrong!!! ---If you can.

Is this the point #4 you reference?

4. Live cattle prices track with boxed beef prices and always have.
 

agman

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Econ101 said:
The #4 point by SH on Economic Loss to Pickett. Hey--- are you going to leave my other questions unanswered? Do you work for GIPSA or work with them? Joann Waterfield has gotten more than one thing wrong. Is she having a little help? The court sure is by their mess up on the Robinson-Patman excuse. JoAnn and/or her stoogies could have easily made that mistake. Who is talking to these judges behind closed doors? I would love to believe their judgement was a case of an intellectual mistake instead of corruption. Prove me wrong!!! ---If you can.

Why don't you answer the Robinson-Patman answer by the court or did you get that one wrong too? I happen to know the person who brought up this issue inside USDA. Why was it a part of the judicial review when it had its origins in GIPSA?

Response...How do you know the origins were in GIPSA? What proof do you have that the origin was not soley from the defense and/or the court itself?
 

Econ101

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Children's charities would not be wise to count on such claims, not because you might lose, but because they are unreliable. Why don't we avoid statements like this? I like you to answer the question unless it puts you in harms way. I do not know you or your reputation in this forum as I have just come on but I would like to know your relationship to this case. I have told you mine.

As I have stated before, electric utilities are mostly monopolies but that does not mean that they are using that market power to create deadweight losses.
If your regression analysis argument rests on the fact that Pickett argues that all captive supply increases cause the cash price to be suppressed then you are wrong. That was not the allegation. Another fish.

If you are arguing that the jury relied on Taylor to come up with a number instead of coming up with their own number, then you dealing in technicalities. They had the right to come up with the number zero. They did not. Is your argument that they were not economists or mathematicians and therefore could not come up with a number? Is this the argument that defense rests on?
 

Econ101

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Econ101 said:
Children's charities would not be wise to count on such claims, not because you might lose, but because they are unreliable. Why don't we avoid statements like this? I like you to answer the question unless it puts you in harms way. I do not know you or your reputation in this forum as I have just come on but I would like to know your relationship to this case. I have told you mine.

As I have stated before, electric utilities are mostly monopolies but that does not mean that they are using that market power to create deadweight losses.
If your regression analysis argument rests on the fact that Pickett argues that all captive supply increases cause the cash price to be suppressed then you are wrong. That was not the allegation. Another fish.

If you are arguing that the jury relied on Taylor to come up with a number instead of coming up with their own number, then you dealing in technicalities. They had the right to come up with the number zero. They did not. Is your argument that they were not economists or mathematicians and therefore could not come up with a number? Is this the argument that defense rests on?

I would hope the court was not this stupid on their own and I do not think they were. The misuse of the Robinson-Patman example "inkled" defense to their judgement was obvious.
 

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Sorry about that last one. I do not yet see how to get a quote (which I highligheted) from someone else into my response. I tried to do it but came out that I accidentally quoted myself.
 

agman

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Econ101 said:
"
Your comment.....To raise Daubert issues after the trial and behind closed doors is a parlor trick by high paid economists and lawyers. These issues should not be raised as defenses; they should be remanded down to the court for further review and additional testimony or have been a part of the original trial. Agman, are you or your buddies the ones who were the experts the court relied on behind closed doors? Let the light shine in.

Response.....Who said the Daubert issues were raised after trail? That is another false assumption on your part. Are you also suggesting that if one is an qualified expert witness that it also follows that his testimony is granted that same status after cross examination. What part don't you understand that as a matter of court record during the original trial, not in the presence of the jury, Judge Strom told the plaintiff's attorneys that he thought their expert witness was "nuts". Now you know enough law to know that such a bold statement if unsubstantiated by records of testimony would be grounds for a retrial. Despite the fact that the jurors did not realize how bogus Taylor's testimony was the presiding judge did recognize the swiss cheese testimony provided by Taylor.

Ragarding your latter statement about experts behind closed doors; that is a bold statement. Since I cannot prove a negative and you have made the accusation as a matter of Law 101 the burden of proof is on you. Show the world what you have; talk is very cheap.

Your comment....I admit that I did not even review any of the evidence.

Response...That says it all. Why are you wasting your time attempting to convince others of "your" view of events?

Why don't you answer the Robinson-Patman answer by the court or did you get that one wrong too? I happen to know the person who brought up this issue inside USDA. Why was it a part of the judicial review when it had its origins in GIPSA?

Resposne: I have already posed several questions regarding that matter which you have not yet answered.

Your commnet....Again, I did not look at the actual regression analysis but the points you made on this forum can be refuted without even looking at the evidence. Maybe we should spend a little time on this one. I would like to learn a little more about the arguments behind closed doors.

My response: Be my guest, go ahead and refute it without seeing the evidence. You have done no analysis per this matter but yet you have a formed your opinio regarding so called "captive supply". That is kinda like Taylor with his six untested theories. I guess you would qualify that as expert opinion. Judge Strom saw it otherwise. Unsupported testimony was rejected by this court. As the Appellate court emphatically stated "this was not a close case" as the plaintiff's attempted to claim.
 

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If Dr. Taylor was "nuts" why was his testimony allowed? Is Judge Strom in the habit of allowing the insane to testify?
 

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Sandhusker said:
If Dr. Taylor was "nuts" why was his testimony allowed? Is Judge Strom in the habit of allowing the insane to testify?

Testimony was already underway. Only after he, Judge Strom, recognized how inadequate Taylor's testimony was and his failed attempts to rebut the defense did he make that statement. That would appear to be a normal course or events in a trail.
 

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agman said:
Sandhusker said:
If Dr. Taylor was "nuts" why was his testimony allowed? Is Judge Strom in the habit of allowing the insane to testify?

Testimony was already underway. Only after he, Judge Strom, recognized how inadequate Taylor's testimony was and his failed attempts to rebut the defense did he make that statement. That would appear to be a normal course or events in a trail.

A judge belittleing witnesses is the normal course of events in a trial?
 

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