Perry v. New Hampshire

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Perry v. New Hampshire
Seal of the United States Supreme Court.svg
Argued November 2, 2011
Decided January 11, 2012
Full case name Barion Perry, Petitioner v. State of New Hampshire, Respondent
Docket nos. 10-8974
Citations 565 U.S. ___ (more)
132 S. Ct. 716, 181 L. Ed. 2d 694
Opinion announcement Opinion announcement
Prior history Motion to suppress denied, State v. Perry unreported (N.H. Super., 2010) ; affirmed, State v. Perry, No. 2009-0590 (N.H. November 18, 2010); certiorari granted, 563 ___ U. S. ___ (2011)
Court membership
Case opinions
Majority Ginsburg, joined by Roberts, Scalia, Kennedy, Thomas, Breyer, Alito, Kagan
Concurrence Thomas
Dissent Sotomayor

Perry v. New Hampshire, 565 U.S. ___ (2012), is a United States Supreme Court case regarding the constitutionality of eyewitness identifications. The case was granted certiorari on May 31, 2011, and set for argument on November 2, 2011.


The plaintiff, Barion Perry was convicted for breaking into a car in 2008. A witness, Nubia Blandon told the police that she observed Perry committing the crime from her apartment window. Although she identified him at the scene of the crime, she was unable to pick him out from a line of photos nor describe him to the police. However a second witness was able to identify Perry out of a line of photos. Perry filed suit motioning to suppress the photos used by the police because the photo used of him was "unnecessarily suggestive." Perry lost his case, and the New Hampshire Supreme Court upheld his conviction.[1][2]

Decision of the Supreme Court[edit]

Amicus curiae briefs were filed by the American Psychological Association,[3] the Innocence Network, and the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers,.[4]

The U.S. Supreme Court[5] delivered its 8-1 decision on January 11, 2012, deciding that judicial examination of eye-witness testimony was required only in the case of police misconduct.

Held: The Due Process Clause does not require a preliminary judicial inquiry into the reliability of an eyewitness identification when the identification was not procured under unnecessarily suggestive circumstances arranged by law enforcement.[6]

The preeminent role of the jury in evaluating questionable evidence was cited by the court.[7]

Opinion of the Supreme Court[edit]

Justice Thomas filed a concurring opinion. Justice Thomas believes that the Due Process Clause is not a general guarantee against unfairness but rather only a guarantee of process before a person is deprived of life, liberty, or property.

Justice Sotomayor filed a dissenting opinion. She stated that it is not merely the act of suggestion, which creates a problem with due process, but the effect of an act of suggestion on the reliability of a resulting identification. She stated that the court's ruling would draw a distinction between intentionally suggestive conduct and inadvertently suggestive conduct, either of which could lead to the same unfair result.[8]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Perry v New Hampshire 566 US ____ (2012)". Oyez: Chicago-Kent College of Law. Retrieved 29 January 2014. 
  2. ^ "Perry v New Hampshire 566 US ____ (2012)". Justia: US Supreme Court Center. Retrieved 29 January 2014. 
  3. ^ "Brief of petitioner for Perry v. New Hampshire, 10-8974" (PDF). American Bar Association. Retrieved 2013-11-01. 
  4. ^ "Brief for the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers as Amicus in Support of Petitioner 10-8974" (PDF). American Bar Association. Retrieved 2013-11-01. 
  5. ^ Weiser, Benjamin (August 24, 2011). "In New Jersey, Rules Are Changed on Witness IDs". The New York Times. Retrieved August 25, 2011. troubling lack of reliability in eyewitness identifications 
  6. ^ Syllabus author is anonymous; decision, joined by 6 other justices, was delivered by Ruth Bader Ginsburg with Justice Thomas concurring and Justice Sotomayor dissenting. "Perry v. New Hampshire" (Slip opinion). United States Supreme Court. p. Syllabus. Retrieved January 12, 2012. 
  7. ^ Adam Liptak (January 11, 2012). "Eyewitness Evidence Needs No Special Cautions, Court Says". The New York Times. Retrieved January 12, 2012. 
  8. ^

External links[edit]