Monday, December 23, 2013

State v. Cromedy case brief

State v. Cromedy case brief summary
727 A.2d 457 (1999)

CASE SYNOPSIS
Appellant sought review of rape and robbery conviction, in respondent's favor, in the Superior Court Appellate Division (New Jersey).

CASE FACTS
Appellant sought review of rape conviction based on the trial court's failure to give a jury instruction on cross-racial identification. Appellant was convicted based on the victim's eyewitness identification eight months after the attack. No independent corroborative forensic evidence was presented and appellant's defense was based solely on the identification issue.

DISCUSSION

  • The court reversed appellant's conviction, concluding it was error to refuse a jury instruction on cross-racial identification when identification was the critical issue. 
  • The court explained such an instruction was consistent with the requirement that the trial court instruct a jury about weighing reliability of eyewitness testimony in view of the capacity of the witness to make observations or perceptions under all attendant circumstances. 
  • The court found the empirical studies supported the fact that cross-racial identifications often exhibited race bias impairment. 
  • The court rejected appellee's argument that the scientific community did not yet have a consensus on the issue. 
  • The court explained the debate should not prevent the use of behavioral and social science conclusions to support legal conclusions.

CONCLUSION
The court reversed appellant's robbery and rape conviction because it was error to refuse a cross-racial identification jury instruction when the sole issue at trial was identification and no corroborative evidence in addition to eye-witness testimony was presented.


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