Eyewitness ID Reform Litigation

New Jersey v. Henderson

On August 24, 2011, the New Jersey Supreme Court issued a ruling that revamps the way courts in the state will treat eyewitness identifications. The first of two major revisions announced in the unanimous 142-page ruling provides that if a defendant can show police meddled in the eyewitness identification process through suggestiveness or any other intervention, the court must hold a pretrial hearing. The second major change will be a more tailored set of jury instructions that delineate circumstances known to diminish the reliability of eyewitness identification (these include cross-racial identification, level of stress, use of a weapon, etc.). In the more than 250 conviction overturned because of DNA evidence, 73 percent were attributable to misidentifications by eyewitnesses. According to NACDL Past President Barry Scheck, of the Innocence Project Inc., anticipates that “This decision will ultimately affect every state and federal court in the nation.”

Case Materials

Read the New Jersey Supreme Court's Unanimous Decision Here 

Read the Report of the Special Master 

Read the New Jersey Superior Court, Appellate Division's Decision, November 13, 2007

Perry v. New Hamphshire

Issue Presented: Do the due process protections against unreliable identification evidence apply to all identifications made under suggestive circumstances or only when the suggestive circumstances were orchestrated by the police?

Case Materials

Read the Merits Brief for Petitioner, Barion Perry 

Read the Merits Brief for Respondent, New Hampshire  

Read the NACDL's Amicus Brief 

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