Supreme Court, Monroe County
People v. Norstrand
Background: The defendant was charged with leaving the scene of an accident that resulted in a death, as well as falsely reporting the incident in connection with a hit and run fatality by reporting that his car was stolen. The defendant was accused of driving the vehicle involved in the hit and run. DNA testing did not corroborate the presence of the defendant’s blood on the dashboard of his car. The only evidence was from a single eyewitness who identified the defendant from a photo array. A Frye hearing was conducted on the admissibility of expert testimony on eyewitness identification.
Ruling: The court found the expert witness testimony admissible. The expert witness was a cognitive psychologist and offered an explanation as to memory and “retrieval memory” and its potential for error. The court found that the cognitive psychologist was an expert in her field, her testimony was relevant, and that her proposed testimony was based on sound principles accepted as reliable by the scientific community.
Perry Duckles, of the Monroe County District Attorney’s Office for the people; Jane Yoon of the Monroe County Public Defender’s Office for the defendant