Eye Witness Identification

Supreme Court Refuses to Extend Protections on Suggestive Eye Witness Identification

The United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit struck down an Albuquerque, New Mexico policy which attempted to ban convicted sex offenders from their libraries. In 2008 then Mayor Martin Chavez, ordered city libraries to send letters to registered sex offenders holding library cards to tell them they were no longer allowed in libraries. Doe v City of Albuquerque, Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals, No. 10-2102

The policy was challenged by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) on behalf of a sex offender who until the mayor's action frequently used the city's libraries to check out materials and attended lectures and meetings there.
The Court upheld the lower court’s injunction noting that: “The First Amendment includes a fundamental right to receive information," a three-judge panel of the Court\ wrote. "By prohibiting registered sex offenders from accessing ... public libraries, the city's ban precludes these individuals from exercising this right in a particular government forum," the court said.

But the panel left open the possibility of allowing restrictions less stringent than an outright ban. "We therefore are especially mindful that registered sex offenders, whom studies have confirmed have a considerable rate of recidivism, may threaten to shatter the peace and safety of this environment."

However, the judges said city officials failed to look at other less restrictive approaches, including designating certain hours for sex offenders, requiring them to check in with library staff or restricting areas of the library that they could use.

Albuquerque Assistant City Attorney Gregory Wheeler said the city had adopted a less restrictive policy following the district court's ruling, so Friday's decision will have little immediate impact. Nevertheless, the city is analyzing the ruling to decide whether to appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court, he said, adding, "We are always looking for ways to provide more protection." Peter Simonson, executive director of the ACLU of New Mexico, hailed the ruling.


Michigan Court of Appeals Reinstates Charges Against Ex-Line Backer

The Michigan Court of Appeals has reinstated a felony unarmed robbery charge against former Michigan State University linebacker SirDarean Adams, concluding that prosecutors presented enough evidence to take the case to trial. People v Adams, Court of Appeals No. 287034. Read More...