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What guidelines did the Supreme Court provide in Neil v. Biggers?It provided guidelines...

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lnknparkchick84 | Student, Undergraduate | (Level 2) Honors

Posted May 9, 2011 at 10:58 AM via web

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What guidelines did the Supreme Court provide in Neil v. Biggers?

It provided guidelines in the case of Neil v. Biggers, 409 U.S.188, 93 S. Ct. 375 (1972) What were those guidelines?

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted May 9, 2011 at 11:22 AM (Answer #1)

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I have changed your question to reflect what I think you were trying to ask.

The Supreme Court, in Neil v. Biggers, set out some guidelines as to what a court must consider when it is trying to determine how much credibility to give to eyewitness testimony.  This case involved a woman who identified a man who she claimed had raped her.  The case revolved around the credibility of her identification.  The Court laid out the following factors that must be considered in such cases.

The Court said that courts had to consider

  • Whether the witness had a good chance to see the criminal.
  • How much the witness was paying attention.
  • How accurate the witness's description was.
  • How certain the witness was.
  • How long of a time elapsed between the crime and the identification of the criminal.

The Supreme Court set these out as the factors that must be considered.  It did not, however, say how much weight must be given to any one factor.  It also did not say how long, for example, is too long between crime and identification.  In other words, it gave factors to consider, but no clear rules for how exactly to apply those factors.

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shanices | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted May 31, 2012 at 8:41 PM (Answer #2)

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  • Whether the witness had a good chance to see the criminal.
  • How much the witness was paying attention.
  • How accurate the witness's description was.
  • How certain the witness was.

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