Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Suggestive Photo Arrays

I have spent the better part of the last two days writing a motion to suppress an "improperly suggestive photo array." That is actually not as pornographic as one might think. In a nutshell, it is the problem that witnesses have picking out the right criminal from a photo line up when they say they think the guy had a mohawk, and then they are shown a photographic array with six mugshots that includes only one guy with a mohawk. The other five guys have other haircuts. So that's suggestive because it prompts the witness to pick the guy with the mohawk based on that distinguishing feature rather than whether she can actually identify and distinguish the face of the person she saw. That's unconstitutional, a violation of due process, and in English: Unfair. There are a lot of false identifications made using this method such as problems with witnesses who feel compelled to make a choice among the six pictures in the array even if they aren't sure. And the problems are greater when you have something akin to the one-mohawk-issue. Anyways, that's what I'm working on.

Pictures of Matchstick Men - Camper Van Beethoven

The Evidence, The Proof - The Movers and Shakers


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