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NCJ Number: 184248 Find in a Library
Title: New Jersey Jurors Are No Longer Color-Blind Regarding Eyewitness Identification
Journal: Seton Hall Law Review  Volume:30  Issue:4  Dated:2000  Pages:1224-1254
Author(s): Joy L. Lindo
Date Published: 2000
Page Count: 31
Type: Legislation/Policy Analysis
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: The New Jersey Supreme Court decision holding that the strong potential for inaccurate cross-racial identification requires a jury charge when eyewitness identification is a central issue and no corroborating evidence exists was well-intentioned, but it may require reconsideration if the scientific community comes to understand cross-racial recognition with more particularity.
Abstract: The Court made this decision despite a lack of consensus in the scientific community. The case of New Jersey v. Cromedy took place in August 1992 and involved a sexual assault of a white female college student by a black male intruder into her well-lit apartment. Blood and saliva samples provided by the victim did not link the defendant to the crime. The only evidence that the prosecution presented at the trial was the victim’ eyewitness identification. At the close of the trial, the defendant requested that the jury receive an instruction from the judge on cross-racial identification. The court refused the request and noted that the New Jersey Supreme Court had not yet formally adopted the report of the Task Force on Minority Concerns and that no expert testimony on cross-racial identification had been presented at trial. The New Jersey Supreme Court unanimously reversed the convictions, held that a cautionary jury charge was required in such cases, and held that expert testimony on the matter is inadmissible pursuant to the New Jersey Rules of Evidence. The court would have been hard pressed to produce a solution that avoided drawbacks. However, the court’s holding depends partly on a developing area of research. In addition, the prohibition on expert testimony in this area appears to discount the possibility of future developments in this area. Therefore, the court may ultimately need to revisit its decision. Footnotes
Main Term(s): Appellate court decisions
Index Term(s): Ethnic groups; Expert witnesses; Eyewitness memory; Eyewitness testimony; Facial Recognition/Recall; Minorities; New Jersey; Suspect identification; Victim-offender relationships; Witness credibility
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