Posts

Showing posts from July, 2018

Prosecutors Cannot call People Liars (and Other Things they can’t do)

State v. Austin (HSC June 29, 2018) Part II. For Part I Click HERE. Background. Edith Skinner was an 89-year-old woman, who enjoyed swimming at the Elks Club in Honolulu. She lived alone at an apartment in Waikiki, which was generally restricted to low-income and elderly tenants. Skinner’s body was discovered on July 25, 1989. Her body was lying on top of the bed. There were no signs of a struggle within the apartment.
The doctor performing the autopsy on Skinner’s body concluded that Skinner suffocated as a result of manual strangulation. The doctor also recovered black or dark-colored pubic hair, which stood out from Skinner’s light-colored hair. The hair was preserved as evidence. Semen was also discovered in Skinner’s vagina. The case went cold after that.
In 2005, the fluid found on Skinner’s body was tested for its DNA and compared with a database. It found a match with Gerald Austin, a white male. Police got a warrant to search Austin’s body and took saliva samples from his mouth.…

Looking Beyond the Letter of the Law to Find Reliability

State v. Austin (HSC June 29, 2018) Part I. For Part II—the ProsecutorialMisconduct Analysis—Click HERE. Background. Edith Skinner was an 89-year-old woman, who enjoyed baking, playing bridge, and swimming at the Elks Club in Honolulu. She lived alone at an apartment in Waikiki, which was generally restricted to low-income and elderly tenants. Skinner’s body on July 25, 1989. Her body was lying on top of the bed. The bed was stripped of its covers, pillows, sheets, and comforters. There were no signs of a struggle within the apartment.
The doctor performing the autopsy on Skinner’s body concluded that Skinner suffocated as a result of manual strangulation. The doctor also recovered black or dark-colored pubic hair, which stood out from Skinner’s light-colored hair. The hair was preserved as evidence. Semen was also discovered in Skinner’s vagina.
A crime bulletin was issued without a composite sketch due to its inaccuracies. In the meantime, the pubic hair was sent to an FBI laboratory. …