Top NJ Court Changes Rules re Eyewitness ID, Calls for More Pretrial Scrutiny, New Jury Instructions

In a landmark ruling today, the New Jersey Supreme court changed procedural and evidentiary rules concerning eyewitness identification of suspects, saying that 30 years of scientific research had showed it to be less reliable than once thought.

Depending on the circumstances of an arrest, suspects will be offered a greater opportunity to explore and challenge eyewitness identifications prior to trial. And juries will be offered new instructions to inform them about issues with eyewitness evidence, explains Supreme Court Chief Justice Stuart Rabner in the court’s unanimous opinion (PDF).

An Associated Press article provides further details about the ruling.

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