University of Washington psychologist Elizabeth F. Loftus wrote in 1979, “All the evidence points rather strikingly at the conclusion that there is almost nothing more convincing than a live human being who takes the stand, points a finger at the defendant, and says, ‘That’s the one!’”  

How courts should deal with eye witness identification is the issue in Perry v. New Hampshire which was argued before the United States Supreme Court this week. The precise issue is whether the Constitution requires courts to make a more searching inquiry into the reliability of such testimony when it was police manipulation that made the eyewitness identification “suggestive,” or whether such an inquiry is required anytime there is evidence suggesting that the witness made the observation amid circumstances that were “suggestive.” There are few commentators on Supreme Court proceedings that are more insightful than Lyle Denniston who writes for the Scotus blog. He has an excellent analysis on the case:

 

http://www.scotusblog.com/2011/10/argument-preview-can-eyewitnesses-be-believed/#more-130611  

 


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