State of Washington v. Allen

This court case is completed

The Court of Appeals in this case, while recognizing that cross-racial identifications in criminal cases have been shown to be of questionable reliability and are a leading cause of wrongful convictions, ruled that a defendant is not entitled to an instruction that informs the jury of the problems with such identifications.  The Washington Supreme Court granted review.  Consistent with the ACLU’s work around the country to improve eyewitness identification procedures, ACLU-WA submitted an amicus brief explaining why expert testimony and a cautionary instruction on this topic would promote fairness and should not be considered an unconstitutional “comment on the evidence.”