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Join the conversation! There are now 16 comments on this chapter's page 4. That’s the Guy.. What are your thoughts?
    • Two? There’s the problem that she saw number three before when she was being put into the ambulance, which might be held to be unduly suggestive, but under Stovall v. Denno, it will probably be allowed in, although totality-of-the-circumstances tests are always chancy. 388 U.S. 293, 302 (1967).

      What’s the second problem? That he has no lawyer? Under Kirby v. Illinois, he’s not entitled to one at a pre-indictment line-up, so that’s not a problem. 406 U.S. 682, 690 (1972).

      Or is there some other problem I’m not seeing?

      • The single ear piercing. He’s clearly gay. That is how it works right?

        But I think what Usa was talking about was the part where the officer said “That’s what we thought too.”

        • Depends on which ear. Don’t remember which. Assuming he’s following that particular “code”.

          I doubt that’s really evidence, though.

          • It’s the right ear, not that it really matters.

            I’m not sure if “right” means your right or other people’s right so make of that what you will.

  1. Mark says

    Of course she recognizes #3 – but was it from the crime or from when the police asked her to look under the streetlight at a suspect.

    There are problems with eyewitness testimony, it would seem.

  2. beezee says

    Oh my. Telling the witness who you think did it before she made her final answer? I wouldn’t be surprised if that excluded her testimony right there. On the other hand, she did seem pretty certain about #3 before that happened (even if it took her a second to recognize him), so maybe the bit before would still stay in?

    And of course, she might have recognized him from when the police showed him to her, biasing her memory of the actual attack. People end up trying to “fix” their memories when they receive more information about what happened, but if that information’s wrong…

    I am curious as to what police do to try to avoid accidentally affecting witness testimony. Is there a certain way they have to frame their questions, or something like that?

    • Where did they tell her whom they thought did it? They don’t seem to have done anything to point her toward number three in particular. The officer did say that they’ve got him, but he also emphasized that they just “think” that, but that they need her to tell them if they are right. You never know what the court will do with a totality-of-the-circumstances test, but I wouldn’t think that the officer’s statements will be too problematic. I would think that the judge would be likely to hold that everything the officer said in this strip would just go without saying. After all, they’re not going to bring her in to look at a line-up if they didn’t at least think they had the right man. The earlier identification when she was being put on the ambulance is the real problem, but it seems so close to the facts of Stovall that I would think a judge would hold it okay.

  3. beezee says

    I was actually referring to the last panel, after she says that she thinks she recognizes him but before she’s sure. Besides that, I wouldn’t be surprised at all if the officer’s expression changed right after panel 3, all but telling her the “right” answer and causing her sudden certainty in panel 4. Honestly, it reminds of that horse that people thought could do arithmetic, when it actually just judged what to do from its owners change in posture and facial expression.

    • “That’s it! I’m tired of you comparing me to a horse! We’re through! And I’m keeping the nose bag!”

  4. jdgalt says

    Now that we have DNA testing, I should think we could eliminate this type of error by using the test to eliminate suspects in EVERY rape case (unless the victim washed up before any could be collected).

    The much harder case would seem to be where he says it was consensual. I’d like to see how the system deals with that possibility. I’ve heard that in Washington, they don’t even have to prove the non-consent element, so proof that you had sex = conviction, but that gives women too much power.

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