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NCJ Number: 63898 Find in a Library
Title: DUE PROCESS STANDARDS FOR THE ADMISSIBILITY OF EYEWITNESS IDENTIFICATION EVIDENCE
Journal: KANSAS LAW REVIEW  Volume:26  Issue:3  Dated:(1978)  Pages:461-474
Author(s): E L HENRY
Corporate Author: University of Kansas Law Review
United States of America
Date Published: 1978
Page Count: 14
Sponsoring Agency: University of Kansas Law Review
Lawrence, KS 66045
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: DANGERS OF EYEWITNESS IDENTIFICATION, INITIAL SUPREME COURT RESPONSE TO THE DANGERS, AND THE EXTENT TO WHICH THE COURT'S BRATHWAITE DECISION EFFECTUATES THE DUE PROCESS PRIVILEGE ARE CONSIDERED.
Abstract: THE ADMISSSIBILITY OF IDENTIFICATION EVIDENCE HAS PROVED TO BE A TROUBLESOME QUESTION. IN A 1967 CASE, STOVALL V. DENNO, THE SUPREME COURT RULED THAT IDENTIFICATION PROCEDURES COULD BE 'SO UNNECESSARILY SUGGESTIVE AND CONDUCIVE TO IRREPARABLE MISTAKEN IDENTIFICATION' THAT THEY WOULD CONSTITUTE DENIAL OF DUE PROCESS. HOWEVER, THE STOVALL DECISION LEFT MAJOR QUESTIONS UNANSWERED. IN THE 1977 CASE OF MANSON V. BRATHWAITE, THE COURT ADOPTED A BALANCING TEST FOR THE ADMISSIBILITY OF IDENTIFICATION EVIDENCE DERIVED FROM A SUGGESTIVE CONFRONTATION, AND MAY HAVE PROVIDED A DEFINITIVE STATEMENT CONCERNING HOW MUCH PROTECTION FROM THE DANGERS OF MISIDENTIFICATION THE DUE PROCESS RIGHT WILL AFFORD. IN BRIEF, BRATHWAITE CONCERNED THE IDENTIFICATION OF AN ALLEGED HEROIN DEALER BY A CONNECTICUT STATE TROOPER FROM A PHOTOGRAPH AND FROM IDENTIFICATION OF THE INDIVIDUAL IN COURT. BRATHWAITE CHALLENGED HIS CONVICTION IN A HABEAS CORPUS ACTION, AND THE SUPREME COURT REVERSED THE LOWER COURT CONVICTION. IN SO DOING, THE COURT CONSIDERED THREE GENERAL INTERESTS THAT MUST BE BALANCED WITH THE GUARANTEE OF A FAIR TRIAL. THE FIRST OF THESE INTERESTS IS AVOIDANCE OF THE INHERENT PROBLEMS OF EYEWITNESS IDENTIFICATION, SUCH AS SUSCEPTIBILITY TO INACCURACY THROUGH SOCIAL AND PSYCHOLOGICAL INFLUENCES WHICH MAY DISTORT PERCEPTION. THE COURT FOUND THAT BOTH THE PER SE EXCLUSIONARY RULE AND RELIABILITY TEST WOULD SERVE THIS INTEREST, BUT THAT THE PER SE RULE WENT TOO FAR. THE MAJORITY ONLY BRIEFLY CONSIDERED THE SECOND INTEREST, THE DETERRENCE OF IMPROPER POLICE CONDUCT. THE THIRD FACTOR CONSIDERED IN CHOOSING BETWEEN THE TWO RULES WAS THE EFFECT OF EACH ON THE ADMINISTRATION. THE COURT HELD THAT THE FLEXIBILITY OF THE AD HOC APPROACH WOULD TEND TO PROMOTE JUSTICE, WHILE THE PER SE EXCLUSION OF EVIDENCE WOULD INCREASE THE CHANCE OF TRIAL ERROR. FOOTNOTES ARE INCLUDED IN THE NOTE. (LWM)
Index Term(s): Judicial decisions; Judicial process; Right to Due Process; Rules of evidence; US Supreme Court; Witnesses
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http://www.ncjrs.gov/App/publications/abstract.aspx?ID=63898

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