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Manson v. Brathwaite

United States Supreme Court
432 U.S. 98 (1977)



Glover, an undercover narcotics officer, went to an apartment to buy drugs. He knocked on the door of an apartment and a man inside opened it 12 to 18 inches. Glover told the man what he wanted and handed over some money. The man inside closed the door and, when he returned, he handed Glover two bags of drugs. While the door was opened, Glover stood about two feet away from the man inside. The transaction took place during daylight hours so the sun was coming in through windows on the stairwell and windows from inside the apartment. The entire transaction took about five to seven minutes. When Glover left the building, he drove to police headquarters where he gave other officers a detailed description of the man who had sold him the drugs. One of the officers recognized the description as that of Brathwaite (defendant). The officer then found a photo of Brathwaite and put it in Glover’s office for him to look at. Two days later, and when he was alone, Glover looked at the photo and identified the man as the person who had sold him the drugs. Brathwaite was charged with possession and sale of heroin. The photo from which Glover identified Brathwaite was introduced into evidence. Glover testified he had no doubt that the man in the photo was the one who sold him the drugs. Glover also made an in-court identification. The jury found Brathwaite guilty. The court of appeals applied a per se rule, holding that suggestive, pre-trial witness identifications must be excluded from evidence.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Blackmun, J.)

Concurrence (Stevens, J.)

Dissent (Marshall, J.)

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