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NJ court orders changes to witness ID evidence

•  Legal Spotlight     updated  2011/08/25 08:58

New Jersey's highest court has ordered changes to the way eyewitness identifications are used in court, saying the current system is not reliable enough.

The state Supreme Court found that the current process doesn't deter police misconduct and overstates the jury's ability to evaluate identification evidence.

Currently, a defendant has the burden of proving there was undue suggestion during the identification process. That will stay the same.

But the court on Wednesday ordered a pretrial hearing when a defendant can show some evidence of suggestiveness by police. The court also says juries should hear a better explanation of the potential flaws with eyewitness identifications. The new rules will apply to future cases.

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