The closest we ever got to the U.S. Supreme Court was getting a denial of cert that looked like it was written on the back of a laundry ticket. But since appellate squawkers are expected to take a polite interest in the doings of the Beltway Umps, we take a gander now and then at SCOTUSblog, another fine product of Bloomberg.law.
The other day, the blogversation turned to Perry v. New Hampshire, which is about whether the DA can use a dodgy eyewitness identification so long as it wasn’t “police-arranged.” “Police-arranged” means the cops throw your client in handcuffs against the patrol car and tell the hysterical witness, “We’ve caught the scumbag.”
We had a few thoughts, having noticed that all those funky old Supreme Court cases from back in the ’70’s never said that the purpose of precluding suggestive i.d.’s is to slap the police on the wrist. They were worried about convicting the wrong person. Even before DNA exonerations and eyewitness experiments where nobody notices a gorilla walking into the classroom, at least some judges knew that one person can be mistaken for another pretty easily.
So if the i.d. is so unreliable that it risks getting the wrong person convicted, the DA shouldn’t be allowed to use it, no matter where it came from.
We thought we’d share this with the luminaries of SCOTUSblog, since nobody else had made this particular point. And darned if we didn’t get a prissy e-mail back saying they were giving our comment the heave-ho because “the author didn’t use their real name” [sic sic sic].
What’s unreal about our name? It’s as real as the First Department or the Acme School of Law and Refrigerator Repair. Anonymous squawking in the public interest is a venerable tradition from the Spectator to the Federalist Papers. Scrotumblog can go scratch itself.