Ronald L. Carlson

Fuller E. Callaway Chair of Law Emeritus

B.A., Augustana College
J.D., Northwestern University
LL.M., Georgetown University

Courses: 

Evidence
Trial Practice

Biographical Information: 

Callaway Chair of Law Emeritus Ronald L. Carlson has been a member of the Georgia Law faculty since 1984. A prolific scholar, Carlson began writing about and analyzing evidentiary rules during the early stages of the Federal Rules of Evidence. In December 2000, when Federal Rule of Evidence 703 was amended, the Federal Rules Advisory Committee relied upon Carlson’s Vanderbilt article on expert witnesses in the official Federal Advisory Committee Notes.

His articles on litigation and evidence practice have appeared in the Cornell, Duke, Northwestern, Georgia and Minnesota law reviews, just to name a few. Additionally, he is the author of 15 books on evidence, trial practice and criminal procedure, and his law school coursebook on the law of evidence, published by West Publishing Company, is in its seventh edition. His most recent scholarship includes three books, two book supplements and a law review article, which were all published during the 2013-14 academic year.

Carlson draws upon his writings and background as a trial lawyer and U.S. commissioner when lecturing to lawyers and judges about litigation and evidence. He has spoken at continuing legal education seminars across the country, and he frequently leads seminars for judges and lawyers in Georgia. In 2013, he appeared as a speaker during the evidence law symposium presented by the Georgia Law Review. In 2014, he spoke at the Atlanta John Marshall symposium on Miscarriages of Justice and prepared a symposium article on the law of cross-examination. Carlson also informs the public about the law and legal issues through his commentary in the media on high-profile cases. 

In July 2000, he was awarded the ALI-ABA's Harrison Tweed Award for Special Merit in Continuing Legal Education, the top recognition for significant contributions to CLE at the national or state level. He has also been awarded the Josiah Meigs Award for Teaching Excellence from UGA, the first Georgia Law professor to receive this accolade; the 1987 Roscoe Pound Foundation's Richard S. Jacobson Award, honoring a single national law professor for the teaching of trial advocacy; the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Georgia Trial Lawyers Association; and the Earl W. Kintner Award, the Federal Bar Association’s highest honor for distinguished service to the federal bar. 

Although he took emeritus status in 2001, Carlson continues to work closely with the law school's award-winning mock trial and moot court teams in addition to often teaching a course during the spring semester.

He has received every faculty honor presented by the law school student body at least once: the Student Bar Association Faculty Book Award for Excellence in Teaching, which is now the C. Ronald Ellington Award for Excellence in Teaching, the John C. O'Byrne Memorial Award for Significant Contributions Furthering Student-Faculty Relations and the Student Bar Association Professionalism Award. The professionalism award recognizes the professor who best succeeds in inspiring professional responsibility “through his instruction and through his example.”  On four occasions, he has been selected by the graduating class to serve as class marshal at Georgia Law commencement ceremonies.

Carlson has served as a UGA Senior Teaching Fellow. He is a charter member of the UGA Teaching Academy, and he is one of the founding members of the Joseph Henry Lumpkin American Inn of Court, an organization dedicated to teaching and mentoring law students and young attorneys. In 2005, he delivered the university's Founders Day Lecture.

Carlson has litigated numerous trial and appellate cases and has argued appeals before the U.S. Supreme Court. He appeared as one of the trial counsel in Eckerhart v. Hensley, a landmark federal case establishing the right of mental patients to adequate and humane treatment, and was one of the authors of the Federal Bar Association's amicus curiae brief to the U.S. Supreme Court in Upjohn Co. v. United States, a major case involving the corporate attorney-client privilege.

Carlson earned his bachelor's degree from Augustana College, his law degree from Northwestern University and his Master of Laws from Georgetown University. At Northwestern, Carlson was a member of the Board of Editors of the Northwestern University Law Review and president of his senior class. At Georgetown, he was an E. Barrett Prettyman Fellow in Trial Advocacy. He worked as a lawyer and U.S. commissioner prior to joining the University of Iowa law faculty. He taught at Iowa for eight years and then joined the law faculty at Washington University in St. Louis, Mo., where he remained until accepting the offer to join UGA.

Publications & Activities

ARTICLES
BOOK REVIEWS
BOOKS
CHAPTERS
OTHER

ARTICLES

Unconstitutionality and the Role of Wide-Open Cross-Examination: Encroaching on the Fifth Amendment When Examining the Accused, 7 J. Marshall L.J. 269 (2014) (with M. Carlson).

The Best Evidence Rule Made Better: A Glimpse into Georgia's New Evidence Code, 19 Ga. Bar. J. 12 (2013).

The Curious Case of  Differing Literary Emphases: The Contrast Between the Use of Scientific Publications at Pretrial Daubert Hearings and at Trial, 47 Ga. L. Rev. 837 (2013).

Distorting Due Process for Noble Purposes: The Emasculation of America's Material Witness Laws, 42 Ga. L. Rev. 943 (2008).

Roll Out Diogenes' Barrel: Impeachment of State Witnesses with Uncharged Acts of Dishonesty in Georgia, Carlson's Corner, Spring 2007, http://pacga.org/downloads/other_pubs/carlson/spring_07_rollout_diogenes%27_barrel.pdf.

Don't Ask and Don't Tell the Jury: The Georgia Law of Pre-Arrest Silence, Evasion and Flight, Carlson's Corner, Winter 2007, http://pacga.org/downloads/other_pubs/carlson/winter_07_dont_ask_and_dont_tell_the_jury.pdf.

Navigating the Nuances of Modern Expert Witness Law: How to Teach About Experts, 50 St. Louis U. L.J. 1115 (2006).

Gatekeeping After Gilbert: How Lawyers Should Address the Court's New Emphasis, 85 Mich. B.J. 27 (March 2006) (with B. Benner).

The Right to Open and Conclude Final Arguments: When Is Evidence Introduced, Carlson's Corner, Fall 2004, http://pacga.org/downloads/other_pubs/carlson/fall_2004_carlson.pdf.

Confronting the Accused With His Past Convictions, Carlson's Corner, Spring 2004, http://pacga.org/downloads/other_pubs/carlson/spring_2004_carlson.pdf.

Prior Bad Act Impeachment: Shielding the State's Witnesses from Improper Attack, Carlson's Corner, Fall 2003, http://pacga.org/downloads/other_pubs/carlson/fall_2003_carlson.pdf.

Impeaching the State's Own Witness, Carlson's Corner, Summer 2003, http://pacga.org/downloads/other_pubs/carlson/summer_2003_carlson.pdf.

Bruton vs. United States: A Guide for Georgia Trial Practitioners , Carlson's Corner, Spring 2003, http://pacga.org/downloads/other_pubs/carlson/spring_2003_carlson.pdf.

Opening Statement: Making It Stick,  9 Ga. B.J. 18 (2003) (with M. Carlson).

Bruton v. United States: A Basic Guide for Georgia Trial Practitioners, 27 Verdict 10 (2002) (with M. Carlson and W. Fleming).

“Over the Top” Final Arguments: How Far Is Too Far?, 49 Fed. Law. 37 (2002) (with M. Carlson). 

Outrageous Opponents: How to Stop Them in Closing Argument, 6 Ga. B.J. 12 (2001) (with M. Carlson).

Is Revised Expert Witness Rule 703 a Critical Modernization for the New Century? 52 Fla. L. Rev. 715 (2000).

New Medicine for Scientific Proof, J. Ga. Trial Law. Ass'n, Spring 1998.

Were you Lying Then or Are You Lying Now?, J. Ga. Trial Law. Ass'n, Fall 1998.

Death Knell for Self-Serving Hearsay, J. Ga. Trial Law. Ass'n, Winter 1998.

An American Original: A Tribute to Judge Myron Bright, 83 Minn. L. Rev. 219, 1998.

Compromise Statements and Compromising Situations, J. Ga. Trial Law. Ass'n, Summer 1998.

Objections at Trial: Putting New Life in Old Favorites, J. Ga. Trial Law. Ass'n, Summer 1997.

Objections at Trial: Putting New Wine in Old Wineskins, 7 Crim. L. Advoc. Rep. 73 (1997).

Experts, Judges, and Commentators: The Underlying Debate About an Expert's Underlying Data, 47 Mercer L. Rev. 481 (1996).

Objecting to Expert Hearsay, Ga. Advoc. 28 (Fall 1994).

Expert Hearsay: Will Somebody Please Object? 2 Shepard's Expert & Sci. Evidence Q. 709 (1994).

The Three Types of Closing Argument, 18 Am. J. Trial Advoc. 115 (1994) (with Edward J. Imwinkelried).

In Defense of a Constitutional Theory of Experts, 87 Nw. L. Rev. 1182 (1993).

Experts as Hearsay Conduits: Confrontation Abuses in Opinion Testimony, 76 Minn. L. Rev. 859 (1992).

Thematic Closing Arguments, 12 Verdicts, Settlements & Tactics 146 (1992).

Should Michigan Rule of Evidence 703 Be Revised?, 70 Mich. B. J. 572 (1991) (with Brian J. Benner and Michael D. Wade).

Hypothetical Questions on Cross-Examination: "Doctor, What If ..", 10 Verdicts, Settlements & Tactics 258 (1990).

New Perspectives in Advocacy: A Videotape Program on the Art of Trial Practice, 36 Fed. B. News & J. 452 (1989).

A Tribute to Professor John C. O'Byrne, 24 Ga. L. Rev. 1 (1989).

Argument to the Jury: Passion, Persuasion, and Legal Controls, 33 St. Louis U. L.J. 787 (1989).

Competency and Professionalism in Modern Litigation: The Role of the Law Schools, 23 Ga. L. Rev. 689 (1989).

Effective Objections to Adverse Expert Witnesses, 36 Fed. B. News & J. 32 (1989).

Objections to Expert Testimony: How to Block "Bootstrapped" Hearsay, 1 Oakes' Crim. Prac. Letter 30 (No. 4, 1989).

When Witnesses Recant: New Trials Based Upon After-Discovered Evidence, 9 Verdicts, Settlements & Tactics 404 (1989).

Post-Trial Motions Claiming Juror Misconduct, 9 Verdicts, Settlements & Tactics 202 (1989).

Final Argument Law and Tactics, 2 Trial Prac. Newsl. 1 (No. 9, 1988).

Challenges to Expert Testimony, 2 Trial Prac. Newsl. 4 (No. 11, 1988).

Meaningful Examination of Trial Jurors, 2 Trial Prac. Newsl. 5 (No. 4, 1988).

Policing the Bases of Modern Expert Testimony, 39 Vand. L. Rev. 577 (1986).

Collision Course in Expert Testimony: Limitations on Affirmative Introduction of Underlying Data, 36 U. Fla. L. Rev. 234 (1984).

Federal Practice Institute: Dynamic Lawyering in Action, 28 Fed. B. News & J. 310 (1981).

Mason Ladd -- In Memoriam, 66 Iowa L. Rev. 692 (1981).

Material Witness and Material Injustice, 58 Wash. U. L. Q. 1 (1980) (with Mark S. Voelpel).

Symposium On Evidence. Biography of Edward W. Cleary. Attacking Jury Verdicts: Paradigms for Rule Revision, 1977 Ariz. St. L. J. 247 (1977).

Symposium on Witness Immunity. Witness Immunity in Modern Trials: Observations on the Uniform Rule of Criminal Procedure, 67 J. Crim. L. 131 (1976).

Evidence (a symposium): Scope of Cross-Examination and the Proposed Federal Rules, 32 Fed. B. J. 225, Fall 1973; 33 Fed. B. J. 1, Winter 1974.

Argument to the Jury and the Constitutional Right to Confrontation, 9 Crim. L. Bull. 293 (1973).

Jailing the Innocent: The Plight of the Material Witness, 55 Iowa L. Rev. 1 (1969).

False or Suppressed Evidence: Why a Need for the Prosecutorial Tie, 1969 Duke L. J. 1171 (1969).

Cross-Examination of the Accused, 52 Cornell L. Q. 705 (1967).

Appointed Counsel in Criminal Prosecutions: A Study of Indigent Defense, 50 Iowa L. Rev. 1073 (1965).

BOOK REVIEWS

Handbook on Georgia Medical Malpractice Law, 27 Ga. St. B. J. 206 (1991).

Skylarks and Lecterns, 35 Fed. B. News & J. 208 (1988).

Trial Hearsay: Objections and Exceptions, 11 Litig. 51 (1985).

Evidence: Making the Record, 33 J. Leg. Ed. 540 (1983).

BOOKS

Carlson on Evidence: Comparing the Georgia and Federal Rules, 2nd ed. (Institute of Continuing Legal Education in Georgia, 2014) (with Michael S. Carlson).

Objections at Trial, 6th ed. (National Institute for Trial Advocacy, 2013) (with Bright and Imwinkelried).

Carlson on Evidence: Comparing the Georgia and Federal Rules, (Institute of Continuing Legal Education in Georgia, 2013) (with Michael S. Carlson).

Criminal Justice Procedure, 8th ed. (Anderson Publishing, 2013) (with S. Moak).

Trial Handbook for Georgia Lawyers, 2012-13 ed. (West, 2012).

Evidence: Teaching Materials for an Age of Science and Statutes, 7th ed. (LexisNexis, 2012) (with Imwinkelried, Barrett Jr., Seaman and Beecher-Monas)

Carlson on Evidence: Comparing the Georgia and Federal Rules (Institute of Continuing Legal Education in Georgia, 2012) (with Michael S. Carlson).

Dynamics of Trial Practice: Problems & Materials, 4th ed. (West Group, 2010) (with Imwinkelried).

Objections at Trial, 5th ed. (National Institute for Trial Advocacy, 2008) (with Bright and Imwinkelried).

Evidence: Teaching Materials for an Age of Science and Statutes, 6th ed. (LexisNexis, 2007) (with Imwinkelried, Kionka and Strachan); (Supp. 2010).

Adjudication of Criminal Justice, 2nd ed. (Thomson/West, 2007) (with Brown and Crump); (Supp. 2010).

Criminal Justice Procedure, 7th ed. (LexisNexis, 2005).

A Student's Guide to Elements of Proof (Thomson/West, 2004).

Trial Handbook for Georgia Lawyers, 3rd ed. (Thomson/West, 2003); (Supp. 2010).

Evidence: Teaching Materials for an Age of Science and Statutes, 5th ed. (LexisNexis, 2002) (with Imwinkelried, Kionka and Strachan).

Dynamics of Trial Practice: Problems & Materials, 3rd ed. (West Group, 2002) (with Imwinkelried); (Supp. 2008)

Criminal Justice Procedure. 6th ed. (Anderson Pub. Co., 1999).

Objections at Trial. (Lexis/Michie, 1998) (with Bright & Imwinkelried).

Virginia Objections at Trial. (Lexis/Michie, 1998) (with Young, Curtis, & Bright).

Evidence: Teaching Materials for an Age of Science and Statutes, (Michie Co., 1997) (with Strachan, Kionka, & Imwinkelried).

Criminal Law & Procedure. (West Pub. Co., 1996).

Criminal Justice Procedure. (Anderson Pub. Co., 1995).

Dynamics of Trial Practice: Problems and materials. 2nd ed. (West Pub. Co., 1995) (with Edward J. Imwinkelried).

Trial Handbook for Georgia Lawyers. 2nd ed. (Lawyers Co-Operative Pub., 1993); 2000 Supp. (West Group); 2002 Supp. (West Group).

California Objections at Trial. (Parker Pub.; Butterworth Legal Pub., 1992) (with Myron H. Bright and Edward J. Imwinkelried).

Florida Objections at Trial. (Butterworth Legal Pub., 1992) (with William Eleazer and Myron H. Bright).

Illinois Objections at Trial. (Butterworth Legal Pub., 1992) (with Myron H. Bright).

Minnesota Objections at Trial. (Butterworth Legal Pub., 1992) (with Ann D. Montgomery and Myron H. Bright).

New Hampshire Objections at Trial. (Butterworth Legal Pub., 1992) (with Myron H. Bright).

New Jersey Objections at Trial. (Butterworth Legal Pub., 1992) (with Myron H. Bright).

New Mexico Objections at Trial. (Butterworth Legal Pub., 1992) (with Barbara E. Bergman and Myron H. Bright).

Oregon Objections at Trial. (Butterworth Legal Pub., 1992) (with Myron H. Bright).

Successful Techniques for Civil Trials. 2nd ed. (Lawyers Co-Operative Pub. Co., 1992);  2001 Supp. (West Group); 2002 Supp. (West Group); 2010 Supp. (West Group).

Texas Objections at Trial. (Butterworth Legal Pub., 1992) (with Susan Crump and Myron H. Bright).

Criminal Justice Procedure. 4th ed. (Anderson Pub. Co., 1991).

Evidence in the Nineties: Cases, Materials, and Problems for an Age of Science and Statutes. 3rd ed. (Michie Co., 1991) (with Edward J. Imwinkelried and Edward J. Kionka).

Maine Objections at Trial. (Butterworth Legal Pub., 1991) (with Myron H. Bright).

Successful Trial Practice: Program Materials 1990. (Institute of Continuing Legal Education in Georgia, 1990).

Objections at Trial. (Butterworth Legal Pub., 1990) (with Myron H. Bright).

Dynamics of Trial Practice: Problems and Materials. (West Pub. Co., 1989) (with Edward J. Imwinkelried).

Successful Trial Practice: Program Materials 1989. (Institute of Continuing Legal Education in Georgia, 1989).

Program Materials for Successful Trial Practice: November 6, 1987. (Institute of Continuing Legal Education in Georgia, 1987).

Adjudication of Criminal Justice: Problems and References. (West Pub. Co. 1986).

Program Materials for Successful Trial Practice: November 14, 1986. (Institute of Continuing Legal Education in Georgia, 1986).

Materials for the Study of Evidence: Cases and Materials. 2nd ed. (Michie Co., 1986) (with Edward J. Imwinkelried and Edward J. Kionka).

Criminal Justice Procedure. 3rd ed. (Anderson Pub. Co., 1985).

Materials of the Study of Evidence: Cases and Materials. 1984 supp. (Michie Co., 1984) (with Edward J. Imwinkelried and Edward J. Kionka).

Materials for the Study of Evidence: Cases and Materials. (Michie, Co., 1983) (with Edward J. Imwinkelried and Edward J. Kionka).

Successful Techniques for Civil Trials. (Lawyers Co-Operative Pub. Co., 1983).

Criminal Law Advocacy: Vol. 3. Trial Proof. (Matthew Bender, 1982).

Criminal Law and Procedure. (West Pub. Co., 1979) (with John L. Yeager).

Criminal Justice Procedure: Text Discussion. 2nd ed. (Anderson Pub. Co., 1978).

Cases and Materials on Evidence. 3rd ed. (Callaghan, 1972) (with Mason Ladd).

Criminal Justice Procedure for Police. (W.H. Anderson Co., 1970).

CHAPTERS

"Elements of Guilt" and "Privileges" in Criminal Law Advocacy (West Group, 2000).

"Real and Demonstrative Evidence" in Criminal Law Advocacy (Matthew Bender, 1997).

"Jury Voir Dire" in Criminal Law Advocacy (Matthew Bender, 1997).

"Overview of the Criminal Trial Process" in Criminal Law Advocacy (Matthew Bender, 1996).

"Effect of Appeals, Stays, and Supersedeas" in Federal Practice Guide, America Inns of Court (Lawyers Coop Publishing Co., 1996).

"Objections" in Criminal Law Advocacy (Matthew Bender, 1995).

"Scientific Evidence: Presentation and Attack" in Criminal Law Advocacy (Matthew Bender, 1994).

"Federal Rules of Evidence" in Criminal Law Advocacy (Matthew Bender, 1994).

"Objections" in Criminal Law Advocacy (Matthew Bender, 1994).

"Principles of Cross-Examination of Law and Expert Witnesses" in Personal Injury Defense Techniques (Matthew Bender, 1986).

"Evidence Problems" in Criminal Defense Techniques (Matthew Bender 1984).

"Overturning Jury Verdicts" in Criminal Defense Techniques (Matthew Bender, 1979).

"Practical Problems in Criminal Evidence" in Criminal Defense Techniques (Matthew Bender, 1971).

"Representation at Preliminary Hearing" in Criminal Defense Techniques (Matthew Bender, 1969).

OTHER

Expert and Opinion Evidence, CALI Program (2000).

Objecting to Expert Hearsay, Ga. Advocate 28 (Fall 1994).

The Law of Final Argument and Expert and Opinion Testimony in Tennessee, Manual for the College of Trial Advocacy, Univ. Of Tennessee College of Law (1994).

Current Developments: Evidence, Objections and Trial Procedure, published as chapter one of the coursebook for American Bar Association Advanced Trial Techniques and Tactics Institute, Washington, D.C., Feb. 25-26, 1985.

Privilege and Hearsay Highlights, Federal Bar Association, Washington, D.C. (1982).

Evidence Law for Prosecutors, Trial Evidence Handbook, National College of District Attorneys (1980).

CASE COMMENTS, Trammel v. United States, Preview of United States Supreme Court Cases, Oct. 1979 Term, No. 2; United States v. Mandujano, Preview of United States Supreme Court Cases, Oct. 1975 Term, No. 15; United States v. Agurs, Preview of United States Supreme Court Cases, Oct. 1975 Term; United States v. Nobles, Preview of United States Supreme Court Cases, Oct. 1974 Term; United States v. Jorn, Preview of United States Supreme Court Cases, Oct. 1970 Term.

Law of Arrest, Search and Seizure, published by National District Attorneys Association 1967.