Kenneth Vercammen Law Office.732-572-0500. Edison, NJ.
December 30, 2010
STATE OF NEW JERSEY VS. JASHOWN WALKER A-1137-08T4 12-13-10
STATE OF NEW JERSEY VS. JASHOWN WALKER A-1137-08T
Defendant was convicted of second-degree conspiracy to commit robbery and second-degree robbery. He is African- American and the victim is Caucasian. Defense counsel requested a cross-racial identification charge which the judge refused to give, concluding, in part, that the victim, who had worked indowntown Newark for several years, had "substantial connections" to African-Americans and people of other races.
We reversed. First, we concluded that a cross-racial identification charge should have been given because identification was the critical issue in the case and there was no independent corroboration of the victim's identification. Second, although it presented a close question, we concluded that the error was harmful under the facts presented and in light of the recent Special Master's Report in State v. Henderson, A-08, that discusses recent scientific analyses of the reliability of identification testimony and jurors' misconceptions in that regard.