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United States v. Lester

United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia
254 F. Supp. 2d 602 (2003)


Facts

Lester (defendant) was charged with several crimes relating to the attempted robbery of a convenience market. Yoon owned the market and was working behind the counter when a Black male pulled a handgun and told Yoon to hand over the money. Instead, Yoon tried to duck behind the counter, and the man shot Yoon and fled. Schwartz, a market employee, witnessed the event. Both Schwartz and Yoon recognized the assailant as a customer but did not know who he was and gave inconsistent descriptions of him. Lester was arrested based on Schwartz and Yoon’s identification of Lester in a photo array. The eyewitness identification was the only evidence tying Lester to the crime. Before trial, Lester proffered expert testimony of Dr. Cutler, who planned to testify on the unreliability of eyewitness identification. During a pretrial hearing, Cutler explained he would testify about (1) exposure time; (2) retention interval; (3) the effect of weapon focus; (4) stress effects on eyewitness perception; (5) confidence and accuracy; and (6) cross-race identification. Cutler cited to peer-reviewed studies to support his testimony. The admissibility of Cutler’s testimony is before the court.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Payne, J.)

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