Eyewitness Evidence in the Courts

August 21, 2018

Eyewitness testimony can be incredibly powerful in court. However, we now know that eyewitness memory is fragile and malleable. This panel, with leading scientists, lawyers, and judges, moderated by Professor Brandon Garrett, explores how eyewitness misidentifications can cause wrongful convictions. Panelists also discuss scientific research on improving the reliability of eyewitness identification, and how to address these questions in the courtroom. Panelists include: Judge Theodore McKee, U.S. Circuit Judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, and chair of a task force on jury instructions on eyewitness identification evidence; Karen Newirth, Senior staff attorney of the Innocence Project, litigates eyewitness memory issues nationwide; Thomas Albright, Professor at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies, co-chaired the National Academy of Sciences' report on eyewitness memory and law; Benjamin David, District Attorney, 5th District (New Hanover and Pender Counties) NC, and past president of the NC Conference of District Attorneys; Jennifer Thompson, founder of Healing Justice, co-author, Picking Cotton, and national advocate for eyewitness identification reform.

Sponsored by the Center for Criminal Justice and Professional Responsibility and the Wrongful Convictions Clinic.