SJC Announces New Committee on Eyewitness ID

The Justices of the Supreme Judicial Court (SJC) 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.

Hon. Michael L. Fabbri of the District Court was appointed chair of the committee.  The Standing Committee on Eyewitness Identification members, appointed for staggered terms of one to three years, are:

Hon. Michael L. Fabbri, Committee Chair

Hon. Robert Kane

Hon. Jonathan Tynes

Hon. Jay Blitzman

Chief William G. Brooks

Lt. Colonel Frank Matthews

Assistant Attorney General Ryan E. Ferch

Assistant District Attorney Jane Montori

Professor Daniel Medwed

Professor Sharon Beckman

Radha Natarajan, Esq.

Lisa Steele, Esq.

The report of the Study Group and comments on the report can be found on the court’s website here:

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