Emory Law Journal

Volume 62Issue 4
The 2012 Randolph W. Thrower Symposium, Innovation for the Modern Era: Law, Policy, and Legal Practice in a Changing World

Whose Defense is it Anyway? Redefining the Role of the Legislative Branch in the Defense of Federal Statutes

Simon P. Hansen | 62 Emory L.J. 1159 (2013)

When the Obama Administration announced it would cease defending the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) in litigation, it demonstrated the increasing fluidity inherent in the Executive Branch custom of defending federal statutes. After three years of setting aside its opposition to DOMA, the Administration adopted a newfound interpretation of DOMA’s Section Three and abruptly abandoned its defense. While the House Bipartisan Leadership Advisory Group eventually undertook the law’s defense, it met obstacles in finding a litigant on its behalf. Partisan opposition to the Advisory Group’s decision to defend DOMA and a prominent U.S. law firm withdrawing its representation jeopardized the law’s defense.

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Drawing on Daubert: Bringing Reliability to the Forefront in the Admissibility of Eyewitness Identification Testimony

Suedabeh Walker | 62 Emory L.J. 1205 (2013)

Eyewitness identification evidence has long been recognized for its tendency toward unreliability and its susceptibility to suggestion. At the core of eyewitness identification is the ability to recognize unfamiliar faces—a memory process that can be distorted by factors intrinsic to the nature of memory, as well as by extrinsic suggestive identification procedures, such as lineups. Because the guilt or innocence of a criminal defendant is often at stake in cases where eyewitness identification is at issue, this potential for distortion is particularly worrisome. In fact, this concern is borne out in statistical data about wrongful convictions in the United States, showing that mistaken identifications are the leading cause of wrongful convictions in the country.

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