Monday, August 13, 2012

Eyewitness Identification Rules Change in NJ Criminal Cases

Deciding the human memory is not foolproof like a video that can be re-played and show the same picture every time, the New Jersey Supreme Court has placed tighter regulations on eyewitness identifications in criminal cases. New Jury instructions will require jurors to consider procedures used by law enforcement during eyewitness identification including suggestiveness in the composition or nature of a lineup or photo array, verbal cues or suggestions by the officers during identification, nonverbal cues or gestures by the officers during identification as well as any other factors which may have suggested to the eyewitness that the defendant in question was the one they saw. The human mind is subject to suggestion and observations are filtered through the past experiences and memories of the viewer. There are factors the Court listed as readily affecting eyewitness' perception are duration of the event, distance between the eyewitness and situation, focus on a weapon rather than entire scene, the stress the eyewitness felt as a result of the situation, cross-racial identification and lighting conditions. This blog is for informational purposes only and in no way intended to replace the advice of an attorney regarding your specific matter. In the event an eyewitness identification is what the State uses to build a case against you, there may be a very good defense available. If you are a defendant in a criminal matter, you should consult an experienced criminal law attorney immediately in order to protect your rights. For more information on eyewitness identification or criminal law matters in New Jersey visit

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