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27 thoughts on “It Was You! pg 74

  1. I am surprised that the law says anything about this. I always thought that judges and elected officials left it up to the discretion of police departments to determine how to collect eyewitness testimony and decide which testimony is or is not reliable.

    • Civil rights laws, at the very least, put standards in place that make sure minorities get a fair shake during witness identification – put up a lineup with 4 white people and one black suspect, and that’s hardly fair. And yes, it’s happened. Other completely unfair identification practices (like coercion) are also banned. As for the reliability of the witness and their ID, that one’s actually for a jury to decide

      • I understand outlawing coercing witnesses and slanting the process to get minorities convicted. However, if the police interview a witness and get them to I.D. a suspect, but then decide that the witness didn’t see what they claim to see for some reason, do they still have to tell the prosecutor’s office about the witness and their testimony or not?

        • They should tell the ADA that they suspect the ID is bad, and tell them why. I’m not sure if they’re legally required to, but they’re absolutely ethically bound to. It’s up to the ADA to do what they will with that info. And the defense will certainly attack a flimsy ID.

  2. So, what should you do if you’re in the position to make an eyewitness id? Do you go along to try to be helpful and be mindful of the shortcomings, or should you refuse to participate in anything unfair or borderline illegal? That seems like a good way of being accused of impeding the investigation, and at worst being caught up in it.

    It seems like nothing will get better if every citizen just goes along with things as they are.

    • No worries. These things, they happen. One slightly more expensive web hosting upgrade (and about eight hours of delay on the host’s part) and all seems fine once again.

      I’m glad you thought highly enough of the comic to recommend it!

  3. I love these comics. I’m a Brit, though, with no intention to move to or have significant dealings with America, so I can’t help but feel that, while they’re interesting and enjoyable to read, I doubt they’ll be particularly useful to me in increasing useful knowledge. So, while I will continue reading these as you write them, I do nonetheless wish you had a British equivalent that I could find!

    • Rereading my own last comment, I wanted to clarify that by “equivalent” I of course mean something more like “counterpart”. I’m not saying that I expect you to write about law in a country in which you don’t practise!

    • Fellow Brit. I’ve learned more about British legal history (and how memory works) here than in 21 years of education.

      I expect a British Illustrated Guide to law might be: several pages on Parliamentary Supremacy, what that means in practice (your right to trial by jury in a criminal trial? Not any more!); a bit on the unwritten constitution, how to find it from 800 years of various Acts, scattered all over the place, followed by “Screw this for a lark, let’s just go and get drunk.” Though, maybe I’m just being cynical.

    • The thing is, he’s not educated in the UK’s law. The legal systems are similar (they both are based in the common law), but NOT the same. There’s some key differences that can get you in a lot of trouble if you assume they’re the same (for example, the right to remain silent works a little bit different in Jolly Ol’ England).

      • Both are common law constituencies – much like here in Australia. There is more in common than you might think, as both the UK and Australian. courts have taken principles of other common law constituencies on board in making judgments. Other common law principles (IE: Mens Rea and Actus Reus are pretty universal, even if the use of Latin is being phased out (…and thank god for that).

        BTW Nathan – What I would REALLY LOVE to see is an illustrated guide to CIVIL Law… and yes – by all means: PLEASE DO call it TORTS ILLUSTRATED – just for the lulz.

        All that being said….It’s still a great comic regardless sir,just eh way it is – please keep it up.

      • Indeed, and I’m aware of that. That’s exactly why I posted the clarification, that what I was really wondering is if there’s a different person who is British who does similar work…

        (And yeah, I know vaguely about the differences in the British right to remain silent. It’s in our equivalent of the Miranda warnings: “…though it may harm your defence if you fail to mentioned, when questioned, anything which you later rely on in court” or something along those lines).

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