New Jersey Establishes New Standard for Eyewitness Identifications

Posted on: August 25th, 2011  |  No Comments

The New Jersey Supreme Court, in a unanimous decision filed on August 24, 2011, takes a hard look at the reliability of “eyewitness identifications” that have been relied upon by prosecutors for decades.

Stuart J. Rabner, the court’s chief justice, wrote [that] the test for reliability of eyewitness testimony, as set out by the United States Supreme Court 34 years ago, should be revised.

Via The New York Times

The Court’s decision was based in part on the immense academic work that has been produced in recent years that studied the reliability of such identifications.

There is no bright line rule for a Court to consider, but rather multiple factors – all that look to the nature of the crime, the ability of the witness to remember details, and the events and situations surrounding both the witnessed incident and the subsequent identification.

This decision sets the national stage for an upcoming case in the Supreme Court of the united States, which will hear its first eyewitness case in over three decades. Many innocent people are convicted because of the overwhelming impact of eyewitness identifications have on jurors. This new trend of reevaluating the procedure is long over due.

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