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Case 3:16-cr-00051-BR

Document 1020

Filed 08/11/16

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Tiffany A. Harris OSB 02318
Attorney at Law
333 SW Taylor St., Suite 300
Portland, Oregon 97204
t. 503.782.4799
tiff@harrisdefense.com
Standby counsel for Shawna Cox
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF OREGON
PORTLAND DIVISION
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,
Plaintiff,
v.

3:16-CR-00051-BR-07
EXPERT WITNESS
DISCLOSURE UNDER RULE
16(b)(1)(C)

SHAWNA COX.
Defendant.

Pursuant to Rule 16(b)(1)(C) of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure, Defendant
Shawna Cox, with the assistance of standby counsel, Tiffany A. Harris, hereby notifies the Court
and counsel of her intent to call Dr. Stephen J. Ross as a defense expert if her Motion to
Suppress Eyewitness Identification is denied (a hearing on that motion is scheduled for August
19, 2016). A copy of Dr. Ross’ CV is attached as Exhibit 1.
QUALIFICATIONS, TRAINING AND EXPERTISE
Dr. Ross has been qualified as an expert in the area of eyewitness identification in
Montana and Washington State courts. He has a doctorate in psychology. He is the director of
the University of Washington’s Center for Applied Social Cognition (CASC) and a psychology
professor at the University of Washington’s Tacoma campus. CASC is a laboratory facility
USDC Oregon Case 3:16-CR-00051-BR
Defendant’s Expert Witness Disclosure under Rule 16(b)(1)(C)

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Case 3:16-cr-00051-BR

Document 1020

Filed 08/11/16

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where undergraduate assistants and graduate level affiliates (under Dr. Ross’ direction) conduct
research and experimentation in three areas: facial processing, eyewitness memory and
identification procedures, and decision-making in criminal cases.
Dr. Ross is a frequent lecturer to law enforcement agencies, attorneys, and the general
public in the area of eyewitness identification and eyewitness testimony. Recent invited
presentations include University of Washington School of Law, Washington Association of
Prosecuting Attorneys, Washington Defenders Association, the King County (WA) Prosecuting
Attorney's Office, Roger Williams University, and the Texas Criminal Defense Lawyers
Association.
Dr. Ross’ Master’s degree and PhD level theses focused on topics relating to eyewitness
identification. As set forth in his curriculum vitae, Dr. Ross is an author of and contributor to
numerous journal articles and published works, including, a chapter in the 2013 the Handbook of
Forensic Psychology, entitled, “Evaluating Eyewitness Testimony of Adults.” He is in the
process of publishing an article entitled, “Influence of rapport-building on eyewitness
identification and susceptibility to post-identification feedback in non-blind photoarrays.”
SUMMARY OF ANTICIPATED TESTIMONY
Dr. Ross will describe basic principles of human memory, psychology and cognition that
produce eyewitness identifications. He will summarize advances in the scientific study of
memory, psychology, and witness behavior that have led to more reliable eyewitness
identifications. He will draw from his knowledge of scientific experimentation and literature in
these areas to explain how scientific advances have led to reforms in the techniques used by
police to interview eyewitness, show them suspect photos, and elicit identifications. He will
explain how these reforms have reduced or mitigated the impact of source confusion, source
contamination and other known phenomena that lead to misidentifications.
Dr. Ross will use these general concepts as background to discuss the specific
identification in this case. He will discuss the limitations of the mimeographed pages of black
USDC Oregon Case 3:16-CR-00051-BR
Defendant’s Expert Witness Disclosure under Rule 16(b)(1)(C)

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Case 3:16-cr-00051-BR

Document 1020

Filed 08/11/16

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and white, thumbnail sized photographs shown to the eyewitness in this case. He will give an
expert opinion, based on a reasonable degree of scientific certainty, about the quality of the
photographs, the effect of including suspect names and dates of birth in the photo materials, and
best practices that should have been employed to increase reliability, focus the source of the
witness’ memory, and prevent contamination. He will assess the overall suggestiveness of the
techniques employed to elicit the witness’ resulting identification.
Dr. Ross will also describe factors not within the control of the interviewing agents that
could have created confusion about the source of the witness’ memory, that could have
erroneously bolstered the witness’ confidence in his identification, and that could have otherwise
limited the reliability of the identification.
LEAVE TO AMEND
A hearing on Ms. Cox’s motion to suppress is scheduled for August 19, 2016. Because
more facts and information will become known to the parties at that time, Ms. Cox respectfully
requests an opportunity to amend this statement, should it become necessary to do so.
DATED this 11th day of August, 2016.
Respectfully submitted,
/S/
Tiffany Harris
Tiffany A. Harris
Standby Counsel for Defendant Shawna Cox

USDC Oregon Case 3:16-CR-00051-BR
Defendant’s Expert Witness Disclosure under Rule 16(b)(1)(C)

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