INNOCENCE: State Supreme Court Takes Lead on Eyewitness Identification Errors

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One of a principal causes of prejudicial philosophy in genocide chastisement cases and other felonies is mistaken watcher testimony.  On Jul 19, a New Jersey Supreme Court released instructions designed to assistance jurors improved weigh a trustworthiness of watcher identifications. A decider is now compulsory to tell jurors before deliberations start that highlight levels, distance, or bad lighting can impact an eyewitness’s ability to make an accurate identification. The new instructions also advise that factors such as a time between a elect of a crime and an marker of a suspect, and a function of a military officer during a lineup, can also change a witness.  In cases involving cross-racial identifications, judges are compulsory to tell jurors that “research has shown that people might have larger problem in accurately identifying members of a opposite race.” The instructions, that take outcome in September, residence problems lifted in final year’s state Supreme Court statute that resolved a normal exam for a trustworthiness of watcher testimony should be revised. The instructions are approaching to be successful as other states demeanour to correct their proceed to this problem. Barry Scheck, co-director of a Innocence Project in New York, called a instructions critically important. “It changes a approach justification is presented by prosecutors and a approach lawyers defend. The whole complement will improve,” Scheck said.

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New Jersey abolished a genocide chastisement in 2007.

(B. Weiser, “New Jersey Court Issues Guidance for Juries About Reliability of Eyewitnesses,” New York Times, Jul 19, 2012).  See Innocence.  Listen to DPIC’s podcast on Innocence.

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