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Eyewitness misidentification is the leading cause of wrongful convictions in our criminal justice system. Own-race bias, the phenomenon of being better able to remember the faces of people who share one’s own race than the faces of people of other races, makes cross-racial eyewitness identifications decidedly less reliable than same-race identifications. Yet absent clear and specific guidance on the shortcomings of cross-racial identifications, juries in criminal trials readily credit eyewitness testimony.
Criminal defense attorneys can play a vital role in reducing the risk of cross-racial misidentifications. With the holding in New York v. Boone, New York recently became one of only a handful of states that require juries be informed about the risks of cross-racial eyewitness identifications in certain circumstances.
Please join Marne L. Lenox, Assistant Counsel at the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF) and co-author of LDF’s amicus brief in New York v. Boone to learn more about:
- The New York State Court of Appeals decision in Boone
- How cross-racial eyewitness identifications heighten the danger of misidentification and wrongful convictions
- Benefits of cross-racial identification jury instructions
- States that require cross-racial identification jury instructions
- Crafting an effective cross-racial identification jury instruction