Adam Serwer, in a blog post for the American Prospect, discusses the recent landmark ruling by a New Jersey judge that calls for a modification in the admissability of eyewitness evidence.
Eyewitness misidentification is a leading factor in wrongful convictions — according to the Innocence Project, more than 75 percent of DNA exonerations involved cases of eyewitness misidentification. In what the Innocence Project called a landmark ruling earlier this week, New Jersey Supreme Court Chief Justice Stuart J. Rabner wrote a long opinion holding that the legal standards for admissibility of eyewitness evidence should be modified.
The ruling itself is an incredibly compelling recap of the relevant science on memory and the problems with eyewitness testimony over the past 30 years. Until now, admissibility has generally hinged on a two-prong test: If the court decides that the identification took place under "suggestive" circumstances, it must then decide, based on five factors, whether the evidence is reliable.
Read Adam Serwer's entire blog entry at the American Prospect.