Legal Research

I’m cleaning out my writeboards because I’m downgrading my backpack account. I don’t want to lose the stuff I have there, though, so it’s getting posted here for the 2 or 3 intrepid readers and me.


A few states, including Ohio, Massachusettes, and Washington, have enacted laws that make it a crime to see a felony occur yet fail to report it. Few prosecutions have taken place under such laws.

—ch1 p5 Nolo 7th Ed. “The Criminal Law Handbook”

You may be guilty fo a crime as an ‘accessory after the fact’ if you take active steps to conceal either the crime or the perpetrator.

—ch1 p5 Nolo 7th Ed. “The Criminal Law Handbook”

…less obvious factors that have led eyewitnesses to make mistakes.

  • Stress. …research consistently shows that people who are under stress when they observe an event are more likely to misidentify a culprit.
  • Presence of a weapon. …apt to focus on the weapon and not on the person holding it.
  • Confidence level. Eyewitnesses who express great confidence in their identifications are not more accurate than those who admit to uncertainty. Confident eyewitnesses sometimes have higher error rates.
  • Pressure to choose. …more likely to make a mistake when they feel under pressure to make an identification…
  • Post-event influence. …witnesses may alter their memories so that they can be in agreement with others.
  • Transference. …mistaken identification backup on having seen the person they identify on a different occasion.
  • Multiple perpetrators. …accuracy decreases as the number of people involved in an event increases.

—ch4 pp6-7 Nolo 7th Ed. “The Criminal Law Handbook”

Qualified experts can ‘educate the jury’ by talking generally about factors that studies have shown tend to lead to inaccurate identifications, but experts have no way of assessing whether a particular eyewitness is accurate.

—ch4 p7 Nolo 7th Ed. “The Criminal Law Handbook”

…police reports frequently are barred from evidence by the hearsay rule. However, sometimes, in state courts, a portion of a police report may be admitted into evidence as a government record. For example, if a police officer arrives at the scene of a hit-and-run, measures skidmarks and records the measurements in a police report pursuant to the officer’s official duties, that portion of the police report may be admissible in evidence.

—ch18 p16 Nolo 7th Ed. “The Criminal Law Handbook”

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