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There are now 16 comments... what are your thoughts?
  1. UsaSatsui says

    Honestly, if we didn’t know for a fact they had the wrong guy, this argument would be a lot more effective.

    • We don’t know for a fact that they have the wrong guy. We never saw the culprit’s face at all. We only know that the methods used to “identify” the suspect are likely to turn up the wrong guy: the police arrested the first random person they saw who had matching clothes. Everything after that is memory tampering and argument about whether the memory was really tampered. Nonetheless, it is possible, albeit unlikely, that the suspect was in fact the culprit.

      • Gah, you beat me to it! Yeah, it’d be kind of funny if despite all the questionable methodology they still got the right guy. (But even if they found the bloody knife on him, that doesn’t seem like it should excuse the unreliable ID – the knife would just have to stand on its own, I would imagine?)

      • You know, I could have sworn it was definitively established that the police picked up the wrong guy, but I just looked back, and we never did see the actual guy’s face either. Just that the attacker and the guy they picked up have the same hair and same outfit.

        So what’s that lesson we’re learning about memory again?

      • It isn’t even necessarily unlikely that this suspect was the culprit. There were a finite number of people in that exact outfit in the area. The problem is that we only have the clothing and that is situational evidence which cannot prove beyond reasonable doubt. “Likely” isn’t good enough. We need proof.

  2. B.J. says

    Didn’t they already argue all of this about the photo array?

    • That was about admitting the showup ID into court. This is about admitting the photo array ID and allowing an in-court ID. DC’s arguments on all of them are similar.

  3. Jonas says

    She’s about to say, “Because he said he was sure!” isn’t she. *Sigh*

    Also: Semantics (First ID vs Thinking out loud)

    • Yeah, I realize this whole comic is much more positive than normative, but I’ve come to dislike the prosecutor character because of stuff like that. She doesn’t seem to care much about problems with the reliability and accuracy of the evidence as long as she gets someone convicted.

      • Or, she truly believes the evidence is reliable and accurate and is arguing to keep it because she believes she’s putting a potential murderer in jail.

        • Because she really believes that the one picture in the entire array that matched the witness’ description didn’t stand out? And believes that having the witness go over the description when they know only one option (the one they wanted her to pick) matches it wasn’t leading? And that there really wasn’t a first identification? And despite all scientific evidence to the contrary, that the witness is a superhuman who can assess the reliability of their own recollections? She knows that these aren’t conditions that lead to good witness identifications. Why would this one be different?

          • In a word, yes. She believes the identification is good, that the police picked up the right person, and that the witnesses have identified the correct attacker. Why would she prosecute otherwise?

            Remember that the examples we’re given are deliberately to teach lessons, and that this case is specifically hand-crafted with certain aspects (a weapon attack, distinctive clothing, a witness that didn’t get a close look at the suspect) to show that witness IDs are not 100% reliable. This doesn’t mean “All witness IDs are unreliable”. It means you don’t automatically assume anything one way or another, but look at the case and figure out how reliable and accurate you think the witness in THIS particular case.

            Also remember that lawyers are paid very well to present a powerful argument for their side, and DC here is going to naturally throw forward the idea that witness IDs aren’t reliable, and he’s going to pick apart Every. Single. Little. Detail. About how they can be unreliable and how that applies to this particular case, and he’s going to make it sound very convincing (and let’s not forget this comic is written by a defense attorney as well). And we haven’t even heard the other side out yet.

            • As far as the comic being to teach lessons, that’s mostly what I meant about it being positive rather than normative (showing what the law is and what it (dis)allows, rather than what we might wish it to be). You’re probably right on the other things, and anyways I feel so silly realizing that I dislike a person who isn’t even real. I’ll try to keep a more open mind as things develope.

              • Meh. Disliking people who aren’t real isn’t silly. Haven’t met a person yet who likes Dolores Umbridge.

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