State v. Watlington, 234 N.C. App. 580 (Jul. 1, 2014)

(No. COA13-661). The trial court did not err by refusing to instruct the jury about the results of recent research into factors bearing upon the accuracy of eyewitness identification evidence. The eyewitness identification instruction requested by the defendant was eight pages long and strongly resembled a New Jersey jury instruction. The trial court declined to give the defendant’s proffered instruction and gave an alternate one, as well as an instruction relating to the manner in which the jury should evaluate the validity of photographic identification procedures as required by G.S. 15A-284.52(d)(3), with this instruction including a lengthy recitation of the criteria for a proper identification procedure set out in G.S. 15A-284.52(b). Citing prior NC cases, the court held that “existing pattern jury instructions governing the manner in which jurors should evaluate the weight and credibility of the evidence and the necessity for the jury to find that the defendant perpetrated the crime charged beyond a reasonable doubt sufficiently address the issues arising from the presentation of eyewitness identification testimony.” The court went on to note the absence of any evidentiary support for the requested instruction.