Posts tagged psychology

Supreme Court Watch: Perry v. New Hampshire

I can’t see his face, but he looks guilty to me. Photo: Patrick Opp­mann, CNN.

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…)

Fighting Trim

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”.

Dominique Strauss-​​Kahn does the tra­di­tional New York City “perp walk”. Source: The Week (UK)

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 pre­dictedle 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…)

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