News 09.23.09

NJ: Critical Hearings on Eyewitness Identification

Starting tomorrow, Innocence Project Co-Director Barry Scheck and Staff Attorney Zeke Edwards will urge New Jersey to adopt improvements to the state’s procedure on presenting eyewitness evidence in court.

Tomorrow’s hearing stems from the 2004 conviction of Larry Henderson for reckless manslaughter and weapons possession charges. Henderson was identified in a lineup procedure, and he appealed his conviction on the grounds that officers failed to follow state guidelines on conducting identification procedures.

As a result of Henderson’s appeals, the New Jersey Supreme Court ordered a complete inquiry into eyewitness procedures conducted in the state. In the days ahead, Innocence Project attorneys and Henderson’s public defenders will present a wide range of evidence and research on eyewitness identification procedures and the factors that contribute to misidentifications.

New Jersey was one of the first states in the nation to adopt reforms on how lineups are conducted, and the changes advocated in tomorrow’s hearing could move New Jersey even further to the forefront of preventing wrongful convictions based on eyewitness misidentifications.

The hearings start tomorrow and continue on non-consecutive days until October 9.


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