Posts tagged psychology
Today, litigants will argue a case in front of the United States Supreme Court that may forever change the way in which eyewitness testimony is weighed in criminal proceedings.
The case, Perry v. New Hampshire, is a narrow case on its face. What constitutes a suggestive eyewitness identification that would violate a defendant’s 14th Amendment right to due process? Is seeing a suspect in handcuffs, even if the observation is inadvertent, unnecessarily prejudicial? Or do police have to be actively engaged in making a suspect look guilty to taint the eyewitness identification?
If those issues alone were important, the case would not have attracted the attention that it has. If those issues alone were under consideration, the Supreme Court would never have granted certiorari. However, the buzz is that the Supreme Court will revisit standards for eyewitness testimony that have been in place for 34 years. Much has changed in the intervening time, and there is excitement in some circles that eyewitness testimony may be denigrated to the point of uselessness by the Roberts Court. (more…)
This week brought two more “shocking” revelations of sexual offenses by prominent politicians.
Former California Governor Arnold Schwartzenegger admitted to an affair with a member of his house staff, which produced a now-14-year-old child. He and Maria Shriver had just celebrated their 25 year wedding anniversary April 26 when the news came out. Rumors of infidelity and sexual harrassment had dogged Schwartzenegger for years; Shriver famously defended him in 2003, calling him “an A-plus human being”.
In more serious allegations, International Monetary Fund head Dominique Strauss-Kahn has been charged with rape of a hotel maid (along with accompanying charges of forced oral and anal sexual contact and false imprisonment charges) and is now awaiting trial on Riker’s Island. Strauss-Kahn had challenged Ségolène Royal for the leadership of the French Socialist Party prior to Nicolas Sarkozy’s eventual 2007 election as French President and was widely expected to run again in the next election cycle. In an ironic twist, it was revealed that Strauss-Kahn predicted “le fric, les femmes et ma judeite” (“money, women and my Jewishness”) would be his undoing as a candidate for President.
Should we be surprised? (more…)