People v. Boone

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When identification is an issue in a criminal case and the identifying witness and defendant appear to be of different races, a party is entitled, upon request, to a charge on cross-racial identification. Defendant was charged with robbery in the first degree and other crimes. During trial, defense counsel requested that the jury be instructed on cross-racial identification. The trial court denied the request, and the jury found Defendant guilty. The Appellate Division affirmed. The Court of Appeals reversed and ordered a new trial, holding (1) in light of the “near consensus among cognitive and social psychologists that people have significantly greater difficulty in accurately identifying members of a different race than in accurately identifying members of their own race,” the need for a charge on the cross-race effect is evidence; and (2) under the circumstances of this case, the trial court abused its discretion in denying Defendant’s request for a cross-racial identification charge. View "People v. Boone" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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