The Jama Legal Narrative Part I: The JAMA model and narrative interpretation patterns

Ari Geiger, Ephraim Nissan, Ariel Stollman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


For the purposes of starting to tackle, within artificial intelligence (AI), the narrative aspects of legal narratives in a criminal evidence perspective, traditional AI models of narrative understanding can arguably supplement extant models of legal narratives from the scholarly literature of law, jury studies, or the semiotics of law. Not only: the literary (or cinematic) models prominent in a given culture impinge, with their poetic conventions, on the way members of the culture make sense of the world. This shows glaringly in the sample narrative from the Continent-the Jama murder, the inquiry, and the public outcry-we analyse in this paper. Apparently in the same racist crime category as the case of Stephen Lawrence's murder (in Greenwich on 22 April 1993) with the ensuing still current controversy in the UK, the Jama case (some 20 years ago) stood apart because of a very unusual element: the eyewitnesses identifying the suspects were a group of football referees and linesmen eating together at a restaurant, and seeing the sleeping man as he was set ablaze in a public park nearby. Professional background as witnesses-cum-factfinders in a mass sport, and public perceptions of their required characteristics, couldn't but feature prominently in the public perception of the case, even more so as the suspects were released by the magistrate conducting the inquiry. There are sides to this case that involve different expected effects in an inquisitorial criminal procedure system from the Continent, where an investigating magistrate leads the inquiry and prepares the prosecution case, as opposed to trial by jury under the Anglo-American adversarial system. In the JAMA prototype, we tried to approach the given case from the coign of vantage of narrative models from AI.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)21-37
Number of pages17
JournalInformation and Communications Technology Law
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2001
Externally publishedYes


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