This Wednesday, we submitted complete annotations for seven of our sources. It was a surreal feeling holding those 30 pages of annotations in my hands. I felt as if there could be an end to my research in sight.
Over spring break, I wrote this summary of my topic to date. Also, I posted the evolution of my research question here. I didn't acquire a significant amount of new information this week, but I did learn about some arguments against the Manson reliability test. The Manson test comes from Manson v. Brathwaite (1977), a case decided by the U.S. Supreme Court. When a defendant challenges the suggestive circumstances under which he or she was identified in a crime, courts will generally refer to the Manson test to decide whether the ID evidence can still be presented in court.
The test consists of two steps. First, the court considers if the identification was made through intentional, police-orchestrated procedures. If it was, the court will go on to the next step. If it wasn't, it is immediately admissible in court. The second step of the test determines if the ID is still reliable as a whole. The court assesses the ID based on several factors, such as the certainty of the witness, completeness of the witness's description, and the quality of the witness's view during the crime.
There are two major arguments against Manson. One of the arguments is that allowing unintentionally suggestive identifications to pass the Manson test forgoes the goal of the test in the first place. This is because IDs that are unintentionally suggestive can still be unreliable. Another argument is that the factors in the second step of the test are not independent of the first step of the test. For example, a suggestive procedure such as giving a witness confirmatory feedback can increase the witness's confidence. Based on Manson, then, the ID would seem more reliable than it actually is.
[Manson] consists of two steps. First, the court considers if the identification was made through intentional, police-orchestrated procedures... The second step of the test determines if the ID is still reliable as a whole.
I also came across a new iOS app that makes it a snap to cite books. Powered by WorldCat, the app EasyBib allows users to quickly retrieve MLA, APA and Chicago-style citations for their books by simply zooming in on the book's barcode. Once a reference list has been made, users can send themselves the list by e-mail. To learn more about the app, click here.
Stay tuned for next week's post on my experience navigating the local court system.