Month: February 2016

Jury Instructions v. Expert Testimony

New Study: Expanded Eyewitness Jury Instruction Makes Jurors Suspicious of Any Eyewitness — Even in Strong Cases

Defense attorneys are increasingly seeking expanded jury instructions on the reliability of eyewitnesses in lieu of calling a defense expert. A recent study in New Jersey has demonstrated that jurors who received these instructions “indiscriminately discounted ‘weak’ and ‘strong’ testimony in equal measure.”

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‘Making a Murderer’ and the Ethics of a Private Investigative Project


“Making a Murderer” has triggered much discussion about the criminal justice system.  However, it has also raised questions about the ethics of investigative reporting. The recent New Yorker article below makes the point that “a private investigative project, bound by no rules of procedure, is answerable only to ratings and the ethics of its makers.”

Dead Certainty, How ‘Making a Murderer’ Goes Wrong, The New Yorker (1/25/16) Read

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Prosecutors’ Center for Excellence Leads National Meeting of Statewide Best Practices Committees

Prosecutors’ Center for Excellence Leads National Meeting of Statewide Best Practices Committees

WASHINGTON, DC – February 8, 2016 – On February 4, the Prosecutors’ Center for Excellence (PCE) led senior prosecutors from 22 states in a National Meeting of Statewide Best Practices Committees to discuss the diverse and numerous accomplishments of committees throughout the country. Best Practices Committees are non-partisan bodies of prosecutors that include elected and senior prosecutors from urban, suburban, and rural districts throughout a state. The committees serve as think tanks that gather, disseminate, and examine information on the latest developments in criminal justice and community safety.

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