U.S. District Court, WDNY
Independently Reliable Basis — Extensive Contact
United States v. Young
Background: The defendant moved to suppress a photographic identification made by a cooperating government witness. A bifurcated Wade hearing was conducted to consider only whether the identification procedure was unduly suggestive. At the first hearing, the investigator who conducted the photographic identification procedure showed the witness an eight-photograph array and asked if the witness recognized anyone depicted in the array. The witness took 10 seconds to identify the defendant. At the second hearing, the witness testified stating that he knew the defendant, but was hoping to obtain a favorable plea agreement in an unrelated felony for his cooperation in identifying the defendant.
Ruling: The District Court found the testifying witness credible as he had regular contact with the defendant; to wit, the two had lived together for six months. The extensive contact was an independently reliable basis for the identification of the defendant.
Paul J. Vacca Jr. for the defendant; Charles E. Moynihan of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the plaintiff