BC Law Professor Sharon Beckman has been named to a new, twelve member Standing Committee on Eyewitness Identification for the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court (SJC). The committee will offer guidance to the courts regarding eyewitness identification procedures and work on educational seminars and trainings to address new eyewitness evidence procedures and protocols, according to an SJC press release.
Beckman was also appointed to the Board of the New England Innocence Project in January.
The SJC Committee on Eyewitness Identification was formed on the recommendations of a study group that considered “the most effective ways to deter unnecessarily suggestive procedures and to determine whether existing model jury instructions provide adequate guidance to juries in evaluating eyewitness testimony.” In a 2013 report, the Study Group recommended a standing committee that would be responsible for considering the evolving science around eyewitness identification in order to make recommendations to the SJC.
Hon. Michael L. Fabbri of the District Court was appointed chair of the new committee.
Beckman is Co-Director of the Boston College Criminal Justice Clinic and Director of the Boston College Innocence Program. She is the recipient of numerous teaching awards, including the University Distinguished Teaching Award, the highest teaching honor bestowed by Boston College. She has received the Law School’s Emil Slizewski Award for Faculty Excellence and the Ruth-Arlene Howe Black Law Students Association Faculty Member of the Year Award. In addition to her clinics, Beckman has taught Criminal Law, Criminal Procedure, Constitutional Law, and seminars on the Supreme Court, White Collar Crime, and Punishment.
Prior to joining the BC Law faculty, Beckman practiced law for seven years with the Silverglate, Gertner firm in Boston and Jenner & Block in Chicago. Her practice included criminal and civil litigation in state and federal trial and appellate courts, administrative agency proceedings, and internal corporate investigations. By appointment as a member of the Equal Justice Act Panel, Beckman continues to represent indigent appellants in the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit.