News from the courts

Thursday, Jan. 15, 2015
SJC announces Standing Committee on Eyewitness Identification
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The Justices of the Supreme Judicial Court have appointed 12 members to a newly constituted Standing Committee on Eyewitness Identification, whose charge will be to offer guidance to the courts regarding eyewitness identification procedures.

In appointing the Standing Committee, the Justices were following the recommendation of their Study Group on Eyewitness Identification, formed in 2011, to consider the most effective ways to deter unnecessarily suggestive procedures and to determine whether existing model jury instructions provide adequate guidance to juries in evaluating eyewitness testimony.

Recognizing the need to respond to science as it evolves, the Study Group, in its 2013 report, recommended that the Justices establish a Standing Committee to periodically meet to assess the evolving science and law of eyewitness identification and make appropriate recommendations to the Justices in light of their findings. The Standing Committee is also charged with working on educational seminars and trainings to address new eyewitness evidence procedures and protocols.

The Standing Committee on Eyewitness Identification members, appointed for staggered terms of one to three years, are:

  • Hon. Michael L. Fabbri, District Court Department, Committee Chair*
  • Hon. Robert Kane, Superior Court Department*
  • Hon. Jonathan Tynes, Boston Municipal Court Department*
  • Hon. Jay Blitzman, Juvenile Court Department*
  • Chief William G. Brooks, Norwood Police Department
  • Lt. Colonel Frank Matthews, Massachusetts State Police
  • Assistant Attorney General Ryan E. Ferch, Massachusetts Attorney General's Office
  • Assistant District Attorney Jane Montori, Hampden County District Attorney's Office
  • Professor Daniel Medwed, Northeastern University School of Law
  • Professor Sharon Beckman, Boston College Law School
  • Radha Natarajan, Esq., Committee for Public Counsel Services*
  • Lisa Steele, Esq., Steele & Associates

* MBA member