Did You Know?

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.”

Articles about the Study:
Educating jurors on eyewitness reliability may backfire study suggests
ABA Journal (1/27/16)  Read

Study: New Jersey’s Enhanced Eyewitness Testimony Instructions Too Potent
Philly Voice (12/10/15)  Read

A Judge’s Guidance Makes Jurors Suspicious Of Any Eyewitness
NPR (1/26/16)  Read

Arguments in Opposition to Enhanced Jury Instructions:
Outline by AUSA Patricia Riley, DC US Attorney’s Office (2016)  Read

For more information about opposition to jury instructions on cross-race, stress, weapon focus, and duration/distance please contact AUSA Riley at patricia.riley2@usdoj.gov.

The Study:
The Novel New Jersey Eyewitness Instruction Induces Skepticism but not Sensitivity,
Arizona Legal Studies Discussion Papers (12/9/2015)  Read