5 J. Am. Inst. Crim. L. & Criminology 39 (May 1914 to March 1915)
Influence of Environment on Identification of Persons and Things

handle is hein.journals/jclc5 and id is 49 raw text is: THE INFLUENCE OF ENVIRONMENT ON IDENTIFICATION
OF PERSONS AND THINGS.
GUSTAVE A. FEINGOLD.'
The symbolic representation of justice indicates that it is the con-
summate desire of the judicial body to measure and to proportion the
claims of contending parties with mathematical precision. To be sure,
it is an ideal eminently becoming our civilization to presume the pris-
oner at the bar innocent until he has been proved guilty. This is the
protection that a maternal state properly throws about her erring chil-
dren; and she does it willingly, preferring that ten guilty persons
should escape punishment rather than a single innocent one should
suffer unjustly at her hands. Nevertheless, the state must watch out
for her own welfare, and to that end she must use the most efficient
methods for the apprehension as well as for the conviction and pun-
ishment of evil doers.
The problem of identifying supposed culprits was a real stumbling
block to the police before the present anthropological methods of identi-
fication were discovered. These methods, however, *are only serviceable
in the recognition of a person of whom there already exists a police
record, i. e., anthropological measurements, finger prints, etc. But
what about the first time offender, or even the professional criminal who
is not apprehended in the act of crime, but who is observed therein by
a lay person, and is subsequently arrested on the basis of a description
of him-how is he to be recognized? An individual is seen lurldng in
a building, let us say. Subsequently it is discovered that a robbery or a
murder or what not, took place in that building. Some days or weeks
later an arrest is made, and the persons who had seen this lurking in-
dividual are summoned to the police court for the purpose of identifying
the suspect. Assuming that the individual under arrest is the one who
had been seen lurking in the building, what is the probability that he will
be recognized in the new surroundings?     :
' In January, 1914, a man named K. was arrested in Boston charged
with the robbery of a local store. For a while the police believed they
had the leader of a gang that had made many daring breaks. In order
to form a chain of evidence against him, many people who reported
seeing suspicious looking individuals near the scenes of crime were
'Assistant in Psychology in Harvard University.
39

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