Tuesday, June 13, 2006

ID of Jacket Allowed Despite Suggestive Showup

The trial court excluded a witness's identification of three robbers because it was tained by an impermissibly suggestive showup. But the court allowed the witness to testify about the distinctive jacket one robber was wearing because of his testimony -- at a suppression hearing -- that he remembered the clothing independent of the showup. Division 1 affirmed. "The trial court correctly left it to the jury to determine the weight to be given to [the witness's] testimony identifying the jacket." State v. Johnson, 132 P.3d 767 (Wash. App. April 10, 2006)(Agid, J.), Westlaw.

In an unpublished portion of the case, Division 1 addressed claims that statements in the prosecutor's closing argument were improper. It did find one improper comment -- the prosecutor's comment about her brother and his friends going over a soccer game to suggest that the young robbers must also have talked about their day's activities (i.e., the robbery). But the appellate court was satisfied that the court's limiting instruction ("this is argument, it's not evidence, it's not law") was adequate.

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Graphic by mw.

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