The Appellate Group

State v. Hunter

State v. Hunter, 2021 UT 44 (Pearce, J.)

Criminal Law

Defendant was convicted of distributing a controlled substance. He appealed, arguing that his counsel was ineffective for not requesting an instruction on the potential unreliability of eyewitness identification testimony—often referred to as a Long instruction. The Utah Court of Appeals affirmed on the basis that a Long instruction applied only to “memory-based” identifications and not “real-time identifications,” like the one at issue here. On certiorari, the Utah Supreme Court affirmed the conviction, but vacated the court of appeals’ holding that Long did not apply:

  • OF NOTE: Eyewitness identifications need not involved long-term memory or facial recognition to invoke Long. A Long instruction can be requested for “real-time” eyewitness identifications. But here, counsel did not provide ineffective assistance in failing to request such an instruction, as counsel may have believed it would hurt Defendant’s case.

Read the full court opinion