Tag Archives: evidence

2019 REPORT OF THE THIRD CIRCUIT TASK FORCE ON EYEWITNESS IDENTIFICATIONS

This report is 124 pages long, but here is a quote from pages 11 -12.

“Eyewitness misidentifications have been a factor in well over half of the cases that
resulted in wrongful convictions later overturned by DNA evidence.10 Nearly seventy
percent of the DNA driven exonerations in the United States involved eyewitness
misidentifications.11 Eyewitness misidentification is the “single greatest source” of
wrongful convictions in the United States.12 In fact, mistaken identifications “are responsible for more wrongful convictions than all other causes combined.”13 Innocent
people are convicted, the perpetrator goes free,14 and public confidence in the judicial
system erodes.”

The reliability of eyewitness descriptions and identifications are routinely shown to be flawed in first year law classes.  This report goes on to explain why.

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Shrinkage (Not George Costanza Shrinkage)

I recently received a photo from an I Phone via an E-mail.  The resolution was sorely lacking and upon further investigation I found that the photo as received was 2 megapixel resolution rather than the full 8 megapixel the phone’s camera is capable of providing.

Apparently, I Phones automatically downsize the resolution of photos when you use the share function.  With the help of an IT friend, I found the following solution at lifehacker.com.

“Even though your iPhone snaps pictures at pretty decent resolutions (2048×1536 from the 3GS, 1600×1200 on previous iPhone versions), your device automatically resizes photos to a measly 800×600 when you go to email them. Here’s how to fix that.

The resized pictures may be enough under certain circumstances, but if you want your pics to make it through your email in their full glory, it’s a simple matter of copy and paste.

As weblog Geek stuff points out, the resizing only happens when you share photos from your photo library via your iPhone’s traditional Share button—which imports the resized pictures into an empty email. Instead of taking that route, either tap and hold on a single picture and then tap copy or select multiple pictures in album view and tap the Copy button at the bottom of your screen. Then head back to the home screen, fire up Mail, compose a new email, and paste the photos into the new message. Rather than the smaller, resized pictures, you’ll get the full resolution versions.”

http://lifehacker.com/5323809/send-photos-in-full-resolution-from-your-iphone

If getting the best possible resolution is important when using photos for evidence you may wish to make use of this advice and get the full muscle your I Phone camera has to offer.

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Your copier and scanner holds all your secrets!

Copiers are full of secrets.

Did you know that modern copiers have a hard drive that digitally retains every (or nearly every) document copied on that machine and the vast majority of those machines are without any mechanism to erase or encrypt the data.  As a result when you sell or trade in a copier you are probably sending all kinds of private information that identity thieves can then get their hands on.

In addition, lawyers conducting discovery should be aware that an individual’s copier or a company’s copier may be a source of information relevant to an on going law suit.

One law firm I spoke with purchased what was represented as brand new copier and its hard drive was full of documents from and accounting firm.

For a brief primer check out this video from CBS News that aired in 2010.

http://www.cbsnews.com/video/watch/?id=6412572n

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Pulling a Paul Drake

Back in the days of black and white television one of the biggest hits on the tube was Perry Mason.   Based on the character introduced in the the novels written by Erle Stanley Gardner, Raymond Burr played undefeated (or at least it seemed that way) attorney Perry Mason.  He was assisted by his dashing private investigator Paul Drake (played by William Hopper.)

It was a 30 minute show and as a general rule the show ended with Perry breaking down a key witness through brilliant cross-examination or Paul Drake would peek in through the courtroom doors with a missing witness or other key piece of evidence in hand.  Perry would ask for a brief recess and the Paul would cruise down the aisle to the front of the court and present Perry with goods that would turn the case in his client’s favor.

To me, that is “pulling a Paul Drake.”  I have always wanted to show up in some courthouse with the that key witness or other evidence that will blow the case wide open.  I’ve come close, but I’ve never had a moment that dramatic in my career.  In fact, it is unlikely that I ever will.  Modern rules of discovery mean that all the digging for evidence should be done before the parties go in the courtroom.  Therefore, it is highly unlikely that anything of a last-minute nature would get before a trier of fact (jury or judge.)

Just the same, when I do find some really good nugget that goes a long way toward helping my client’s case, I think about peeking in the courtroom, getting my client’s attention and then “pulling a Paul Drake.”

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