In a decision that may have broad repercussions in eyewitness identification cases, New York’s top court ordered a new trial yesterday for a man serving a 25-year sentence for a murder he says he didn’t commit.
The Innocence Project filed an amicus brief in the case, which argued that the New York City man, Nico LeGrand, didn’t get a fair trial because the judge barred an expert who would have testified about the unreliability of eyewitness identification. LeGrand was convicted in 2001 of the 1991 murder of a cab driver, and four witnesses to the crime helped police make a composite sketch of the perpetrator. The Court of Appeals’ decision on Tuesday recognized the importance of admitting expert testimony in cases that turn on identification issues.
Misidentifications such as those in the LeGrand case are not unusual. Decades of solid scientific research have shown that eyewitness identifications are often inaccurate, and misidentifications have led to more than 150 of the 197 DNA exonerations to date.
Read the full story here
. (New York Daily News, 3/28/07)
Read more about eyewitness misidentification
as the leading cause of wrongful conviction.