The New Jersey Supreme Court, perhaps more importantly, also issued new instructions for jurors on eyewitness identifications. These instructions caution jurors to consider various factors that could make such identifications less reliable. Some of the warnings are that human memory is not fool proof. Research has revealed that human memory is not like a video recording, and that a witness need only replay an event to remember what happened. Memory is far more complex. Additionally, research has shown that people may have greater difficulty in accurately identifying members of a different race.
New Jersey police and prosecutors are not resisting the new recording procedures and have been self-implementing them since an Attorney General directive in 2007. Both defense attorneys and law enforcement officials said they supported the new rules. Nonetheless, the new jury instructions will certainly have a negative impact on the State’s ability to prosecute crimes where the only evidence linking the defendant to the crime is a victim’s testimony.