On behalf of David Lindsey, Attorney at Law posted in Preparing to Defend a Case on Tuesday, September 6, 2011.
A New Jersey Supreme Court ruling is expected to have a far-reaching impact on the way a criminal case is tried in this country, and may also have a big impact on preparing to defend a case. The court has called into question the way in which traditional eyewitness identification procedures have been used in trial. Citing decades of research that proves those methods have flaws and can result in the imprisonment of innocent people, the court has called for the rules to be reworked.
New guidelines would make it easier for defendants to challenge witness evidence in criminal cases, and would impose consequences on investigators who pressure witnesses to make flawed identifications. The process of witness identification would be videotaped so that the defense attorney could review it in preparing to defend a case, and the court could examine it for errors in procedure.
The Denver Police Department has already adopted new measures similar to those outlined by New Jersey Court, such as requiring that someone not directly involved in the case and therefore unfamiliar with the suspects conduct lineups. The Aurora Police Department, however, has not instituted any new procedures, since there has been no state mandate to do so.
Other courts are expected to take up the issue, and the United States Supreme Court is set to hear arguments on the identification question in November, for the first time since 1977.