N.J. Supreme Court makes major changes to eyewitness testimony procedure

    New Jersey’s Supreme Court has ruled jurors hearing witness testimony at crime trials must be reminded about the potential unreliability of those witnesses’ accounts.

    Effect this fall, jurors will be given the following notice about eye witness testimony:
    “Human memory is not foolproof. Research has revealed that human memory is not like a video recording that a witness need only replay to remember what happened. Memory is far more complex … Eyewitness identification must be scrutinized carefully.”

    It’s part of the high court’s ruling that such testimony is not always reliable in determining a person’s innocence. The ruling also requires police to write down witnesses’ testimony and note how certain the witnesses are about what they saw.

    • WHYY thanks our sponsors — become a WHYY sponsor

    Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

    Together we can reach 100% of WHYY’s fiscal year goal