posted by Judge_Burke @ 16:33 PM
September 13, 2011

According to Adam Liptak, every year more than 75,000 eye witnesses identify suspects in criminal investigations.  Those identifications are wrong about one-third of the time.  There are two recent developments that suggest that courts are on the verge of making significant changes in how eyewitness testing is treated in  criminal cases.

 In State v. Henderson, the New Jersey Supreme Court issued a 134-page decision changing the rules and procedures for eyewitness identification.  The decision is an interesting read and a bit unusual for a court.  “Study after study revealed a troubling lack of reliability in eyewitness identifications,” New Jersey Chief Justice Stuart J. Ralmer wrote.  The New Jersey Justices came to that conclusion based in part on a study of scientific research led by a special master who held hearings and led a review of the literature on the issue.

 “The decision listed factors that judges should consider in evaluation the reliability of a witness’s identification, including whether a weapon was visible during a crime of short duration, the amount of time the witness had to observe the event, how close the witness was to the suspect, whether the witness was under the influence of alcohol or drugs, whether the witness was identifying someone of a different race and the length of time that elapsed between the crime and the identification.”

The second development is the United States Supreme Court decision to hear Perry v. New Hampshire, No. 10-8974.  The question presented in that case is:

Regardless of the outcome in Perry, there is an interesting amicus brief filed by the American Psychological Association which says in part, “research shows that juries tend to ‘over believe’ eye witness testimony.”



  1. Gail Hagerty Says:

    The Uniform Law Conference has a study committee considering whether the area of eye witness identification is one for which there should be a model act or a uniform law.

  2. Aaj Tak Says:

    Hey, i know, AJA Blog » Blog Archive » NEW DEVELOPMENTS IN WITNESS IDENTIFICATION can be better than this? I can’t stop reading about AJA Blog » Blog Archive » NEW DEVELOPMENTS IN WITNESS IDENTIFICATION.

  3. Judge Glaeden Says:

    This is a really good book that talks about the problems with witness identification written by Ohio’s former Attorney General Jim Petro and his wife.

  4. 徵信社 Says:

    Good idea, Can be considered a learned thing, ok,

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