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Court Decides if There is a 14th Amendment Violation


The petitioner of the case is the Commissioner of Correction of Connecticut, John R. Manson. The respondent/defendant of the case is Nowell A. Brathwaite.

Case Issues

This case involves the issue of whether or not the Fourteenth Amendment, under the Due Process Clause requires the exclusion of pretrial evidence that was obtained by a police procedure that is deemed suggestive and unnecessary.

Case Background

A New York Criminal Lawyer said that in 1970, Jimmy D. Glover, a full time police officer for the Connecticut State Police was assigned a job in the Narcotics Division and went undercover. On May 5th, 1970, around 7:45 pm he went along with Henry Alton Brown, an informant, to an apartment building located in Hartford. The purpose of this visit was to purchase narcotics from a known narcotics (drug possession) dealer, “Dickie Boy” Cicero. Glover knocked on the apartment door and asked for two bags of narcotics. He gave the man two $10 bills and received two glassine bags. Glover was within 2 feet of the individual that he made the purchase from and had a clear view of his face.

After leaving the apartment Glover returned to the station and described the individual he made the purchase from as a “colored man, about five feet, eleven inches, with black hair that was in a short afro style and of a heavy build.” D’Onofrio, who was the police officer that took the description, suspected that this was the dealer and obtained a photograph of Nowell A. Brathwaite, the respondent. Glover identified the man in the photograph as the person he had purchased narcotics from.

The respondent was arrested on the 27th of July and charged in a two count information of the possession and sale of heroin. During his trial, which took place in January of 1971 the photograph that was used by the police department for Glover’s identification of the respondent was received in evidence without any objection from the defense. There was no explanation given by the prosecution as to why a photographic array or a lineup was not used in the identification process.

The respondent was found guilty by the jury and sentences of no less than six and no more than nine years. One year and two months after the trial, the respondent filed a petition of habeas corpus in the United States District Court for the District of Connecticut. The respondent stated that by admitting the identification testimony in his trial he was deprived of the due process of the law that is protected under the 14th amendment. The petition was dismissed, but then reversed on appeal by the United States Court of Appeals. This court must determine whether or not the Due Process Clause in fact does force the exclusion of identification evidence.

Case Result

It is noted that the use of a single photograph for the purpose of identification is an extreme error. However, the court finds that in this case that it was unlikely that Glover misidentified the respondent. A Queens Criminal Lawyer says that they find that the find that the Due Process Clause under the 14th Amendment does not force the exclusion of this type of identification evidence and therefore uphold the initial dismissal of the petition. The respondents original sentencing will stand based on the decision of this court.

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