Joshua Kastenberg, University of New Mexico School of Law professor, said the opinion means eyewitness testimony will have to undergo more corroboration before being allowed into evidence. For example, he said there will also have to be surveillance camera footage or more than one person accurately describing the suspect before eyewitness testimony can be admitted.
Studies over the past three decades show that people are terrible at giving eyewitness testimony on people who are outside their own demographic, Kastenberg said. Police, generally unconsciously, played into that.
Before, federal law put eyewitness credibility in the “lap of the jury,” Kastenberg said. Now, these new evidentiary standards make it the judge’s responsibility to block this type of evidence from even being presented at trial.
“It is not a rule that’s designed to be friendly to defendants. This rule is a rule that’s designed to keep implicit biases and unintentional police suggestibility from corrupting a defendant’s right to a fair trial,” he said.
Joshua Kastenberg & Isabella Alves,
Albuquerque Journal interviews Joshua Kastenberg on new benchmarks for evidence rules,
Available at: https://digitalrepository.unm.edu/law_facultyscholarship/817