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Sunday, January 6, 2019

Eyewitness Unreliability

     Pennsylvania criminal defendants are now able to offer expert testimony about the unreliability of eyewitness identification following a decision by a divided state Supreme Court that overturned a 20-year prohibition against such evidence. [In the past, the judge could inform jurors of the dangers of eyewitness testimony in the jury instruction phase of the trial.]

     ….Pennsylvania will join the great majority of states and federal courts when it comes to letting an expert tell jurors about research into eyewitness testimony….[Since more that thirty years ago, hundreds of studies have shown just how unreliable this kind of evidence can be. A countless number of rape and robbery defendants have been sent to prison on the strength of false line-up identifications. Today, in almost all jurisdictions, eyewitness testimony alone will not, by law, sustain a conviction.]

"Court  Decision Allows Expert Testimony on Eyewitness ID," Associated Press, May 29, 2014 

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