An earlier blog post mentioned the U.S. Supreme Court potentially reviewing the validity of eyewitness testimony and identification. This great speech from Atticus Finch in “To Kill A Mockingbird” highlights this problem, which was especially evident in the South during the 50s and 60s.
Archive for August 26, 2011
The image of a victim of some crime up on the stand pointing to the defendant saying “That’s the one!” is probably the most powerful one of the trial. The human emotion in eyewitness accounts takes over, and juries are pulled into those stories. The Supreme Court along with multitudes of social scientists, however, are revisiting whether or not they are fair and worth even using in court.
There are multiple studies that show that nearly 1/3 of eyewitness identifications are wrong. The vast majority of wrongful convictions that have been overturned were a result of false identifications. Scientists note that memory is a fragile thing…it is not a perfect picture that is set in stone, but can be molded and shaped by environment, stress, peer pressure, etc.
The United States Supreme Court last visited the issue in the 70s, and since then, our understanding of memory and the human mind in general has been completely reshaped. Well over 2,000 studies have been published. “What they collectively show is that it is perilous to base a conviction on a witness’s identification of a stranger. Memory is not a videotape. It is fragile at best, worse under stress and subject to distortion and contamination.”
What do you think? Should eyewitness testimony and identification be held so highly in our courts? Is it even possible for jurors to take these portions of the trial less seriously than evidence-based material?
Chime in with your thoughts!
Need a primer? Here’s a handy visualization of the process of how our laws are made. Click the image to blow it up and make it readable. What did you use in school to remember this process? Schoolhouse Rock, perhaps? Maybe a mnemonic device? Let us know!
People in the legal world are known for working long hours. There’s a good chance you get up early, stay up late and never really get enough sleep. This can lead to increased stress and a decline in overall work performance. It also can affect your physical health, as well as your family life, if that is important to you.
So what’s the key to making sure you don’t get so overwhelmed that you end up burned out? Take 20 minutes and look over a few time management strategies that could keep you sane for the long haul. A few ideas to start with:
- Prepare a task list for every working day. Take 15 minutes at the end of each day to come up with your most important tasks for the next day.
- Prioritize your tasks in order of importance and urgency. When all is equal, put what you’re least looking forward to first so you can get it out of the way and out of mind.
- Place complex tasks when you work the best and have the most energy. This is different for all people, so know when your high-energy times are, whether it is morning, post-lunch or late at night.
- Plan for the unexpected. Emergencies, whether real or imagined, are guaranteed to pop up throughout your day. Consider only answering the phone/returning calls during certain hours.
- Minimize interruptions. Give yourself an hour or two each day where you don’t answer the phone or emails and just let yourself be as productive as you can.
- Learn to delegate well. It is okay to assign tasks to lower-level employees, just make sure you don’t micromanage.
RD Legal Funding is proud to announce that we are sponsoring an event called “No Responder Left Behind“, hosted by the FealGood Foundation. The event takes place on Thursday, September 8th, and is a great fundraiser for the heroes of 9/11. This non-profit foundation, helping out first responders, is hosting an entire weekend of events in honor of the 10-year anniversary of the attacks on our beloved city and country.
Some highlights of the event include:
- Honorees – recognizing heroic service
- Comedians – Isaacs and Baker and also Bob Nelson
- Special guest Gerry Cooney, former professional boxer
- Live DJ
- Silent Auction featuring items from In the Game Collectible’s
We are thrilled to announce our arrival to the blogging world! We’ll give you just a quick tour of what you can do here, then let you peruse!
- You’ll notice links to our various social media sites in the top right corner.
- Underneath that you’ll see a search function – you can enter in any search term or keyword and find where it’s been used on our blog.
- Below that you can enter your email address and receive our blog posts straight to your email inbox.
- You’ll then notice live streams of both our Twitter and Facebook posts – updating anywhere between 2-5 times per day.
- On the top you’ll see an “About” and “Contact” tab. The former is just an overview of what RD Legal Funding does and offers. The contact page lets you send us a quick message that isn’t open to the public space (and there’s a real person reading these, we promise).
- The main stream will include great content ranging from broad legal topics, to settlement news, to company events and outings, to plain old fun stuff like golf and travel tips.