Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

NJ courts will recognize scientific findings regarding memory

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Many organizations that have developed procedures are resistant to changing those them even when evidence clearly shows that current procedures are badly flawed and better methods exist: the organizational culture has absorbed a way of doing things and clings to it.

New Jersey’s State Supreme Court has recognized scientific research and findings regarding human memory and has mandated a new approach. Mary Ann Spoto reports for the Star-Ledger:

New Jersey’s standards for eyewitness testimony in the courtroom is unreliable and can encourage police misconduct, the state Supreme Court said today in ordering a revision of investigative and court practices.

The unanimous ruling follows a recent report recommending tighter restrictions on eyewitness testimony and is likely to have far-reaching effects beyond New Jersey.

The decision tightens standards adopted by New Jersey after the U.S. Supreme Court 34 years ago announced the rules for allowing eyewitness testimony in the courtroom.

Since that time, however, “a vast body of scientific research about human memory has emerged,” Chief Justice Stuart Rabner wrote. “That body of work casts doubt on some commonly held views relating to memory.”

Noting most wrongful convictions in the United States are the result of misidentification, the court said judges should conduct pretrial hearings when there is a question about whether police suggestion influenced the outcome of an identification. The court also said jurors should be given greater instruction about how eyewitness testimony can be influenced.

Public Defender Joseph Krakora, who argued the case before the state Supreme Court, . . .

Continue reading. It’s highly gratifying to see a government organization accepting current knowledge and incorporating that into its procedures. This ruling will keep some innocent people from going to prison.

Written by LeisureGuy

30 July 2012 at 7:51 am

Posted in Government, Law, Science

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