Jeers: to the unexpected infallibility of seeing something with your own eyes. In what’s likely to become a growing trend in courts, the New Jersey Supreme Court has handed down new guidelines to that state’s judges on how to prepare jurors for the fact that eyewitnesses can be grossly mistaken about what — and who — they think they’ve seen. New Jersey judges wil be expected to caution jurors that distance, stress and lighting can crucially affect eyewitness identification. “Human memory is not foolproof,” the instructions say, according to the New York Times. “Research has revealed that human memory is not like a video recording that a witness need only replay to remember what happened. Memory is far more complex.” The guidelines also spell out that interaction with police officers and other witness may crucially alter what eyewitnesses remember, and give judges the grounds to disallow eyewitness testimony that may have been unduly influenced by that contact.
Cheers: to the bare naked truth. Meanwhile, in other American court news, Multnomah County Circuit Court Judge David Rees has ruled that when airline passenger John Brennan stripped naked during an airport security check, he was simply exercising his constitutionally protected right to protest. The judge dismissed indecent exposure charges against Brennan, who said he stripped to protest the infringement of his privacy by Portland International Airport security staff. Photos and video of the protest are widely available online: just search “John Brennan” in Google News. Titillation, it ain’t. Folks, please don’t try this at St. John’s International while you’re waiting for the next flight of the Fort McMurray express. Just keep the liquids in the requisite plastic bag and keep the line moving. Politely.
Cheers: to fun with words. While looking up famous sayings by Albert Einstein for last Saturday’s editorial, we came across these beauties. (They didn’t fit the editorial in question, but they’re still well worth repeating.) First, “Any man who can drive safely while kissing a pretty girl is simply not giving the kiss the attention it deserves.” And, somewhat in the same vein of relativity, “As far as I’m concerned, I prefer silent vice to ostentatious virtue.”
Jeers: to lessons unlearned. A photograph surfaces of a search and rescue team parking their helicopter by a Labrador lake while they stop to catch a few fish, a reward for a job well done in Jamaica. A spokesman for National Defence argues to CBC, in part, that learning fishing skills is part of the squadron’s survival training. You cannot possibly make this stuff up.