News and Commentary Archive

Explore recent scientific discoveries and news as well as CLBB events, commentary, and press.


The Center for Law, Brain & Behavior puts the most accurate and actionable neuroscience in the hands of judges, lawyers, policymakers and journalists—people who shape the standards and practices of our legal system and affect its impact on people’s lives. We work to make the legal system more effective and more just for all those affected by the law.

Massachusetts high court to hear eyewitness ID cases

By Denise Lavoie | The Associated Press | August 25, 2014

Zachary Sevigny was slashed with a box cutter by a stranger outside a convenience store in 2011.

Neither Sevigny nor his friend identified Jeremy Gomes as the attacker when shown his picture in a police photo array. But a week later, they saw Gomes inside a Pittsfield gas station and told police he was the culprit.

Gomes was found guilty of the attack, but his lawyer is challenging his conviction based on what he says were unreliable eyewitness identifications.

That challenge is one of four cases seeking changes in the way eyewitness identification testimony is presented to juries. The cases are set to be heard by the highest court in Massachusetts next month. Defense attorneys are pushing the court to adopt stronger instructions to advise jurors that eyewitness identifications are not always reliable. Continue reading »

How to avoid the perils of witness misidentification

By Wilson Dizard | Al Jazeera America | June 4, 2014

Part of the Al Jazeera America original series The System, exploring controversy within the criminal justice system.

On the day of the 1989 murder Brooklyn prosecutors said he committed, Jonathan Fleming was vacationing with his family at Disney World. But that didn’t stop him from spending half his life behind bars.

“I knew he didn’t do it, because I was there,” his mother, Patricia, who traveled with him to the theme park, told The Associated Press.

His alibi didn’t stop prosecutors from pursuing the case, claiming Jonathan Fleming flew round trip from Florida to New York just to kill his friend, Darryl “Black” Rush, that sweltering August day. Continue reading »