Robert Wm. Shomer Ph.D.

Forensic Expert

Eyewitness Identification - Human Factors

Perception, Memory, and Suggestibility
including cross-racial and stress factors.

Voice (818) 609-1761 Fax (818) 609-9163
Email:

Dr. Shomer's Resume


"That's the man!
I'll never forget that face!"


The men on the left and right were picked out of police lineups by victims of rapes and robberies committed by the man in the middle.




The most common cause of wrongful convictions in our judicial system is mistaken identification.

--U.S. Dept. of Justice Study
Click here to download the full study: Convicted by Juries, Exhonorated by Science, June 1996, U.S. Dept. of Justice, Office of Justice Programs.

A Special Master, appointed by the New Jersey Supreme Court, has recently called for a major overhaul of eyewitness identification evidence, based on the same body of research I use in my testimony.

Click for "A summary of the report"
Click for "The entire report"

Over more than 30 years, Dr. Shomer has testified as an expert witness in eyewitness identification in about 1,000 trials in 18 states, in Federal court, Superior court, and in military trials. Dr. Shomer has years of experience in the fields of observation, memory, stress, facial recall, cross-racial identification, and suggestibility as a member of the faculty of Harvard University, the Claremont Colleges, and UCLA. He has addressed the California State Bar Association and bar associations all over the country.


Fortunately for Mr. Kruska, his resemblance to the composite drawing of a slaying suspect only led to his being detained.


Walt Sweeny wasn't as lucky. He was put on trial for robbery. Dr. Shomer testified. The jury acquitted him of all charges.



The details

   In the 1984 case of People v. McDonald, 37 Cal.3d 351, 208 Cal.Rptr. 236, 690 P.2d 709, 46 A.L.R.4th 1011, the California Supreme Court unanimously held that:
   "Dr. Shomer ... has taught numerous courses on the psychology of perception, memory, and recall, and has spoken and written frequently on such topics in both medical and legal settings. He is conversant with the scientific literature on the psychology of eyewitness identification, has done experimental research on the subject himself, and has published articles on that research. He has qualified as an expert psychological witness in more than two dozen state and federal trials. [Now over 250]. The People do not question the witness' qualifications.
   ...When an eyewitness identification of the defendant is a key element of the prosecution's case but is not substantially corroborated by evidence giving it independent reliability, and the defendant offers qualified expert testimony on specific psychological factors shown by the record that could have affected the accuracy of the identification but are not likely to be fully known to or understood by the jury, it will ordinarily be error to exclude that testimony.
   ...Not all psychologists, of course, have the special knowledge, experience, or training to qualify as experts on psychological factors affecting eyewitness identification
   ...In the case at bar, Dr. Shomer's relevant expertise was both demonstrated by defendant and impliedly conceded by the prosecution."
   Click here for the full text of People v. McDonald.

Dr. Shomer's Resume


Robert Wm. Shomer Ph.D.

Forensic Expert

Voice (818) 609-1761 Fax (818) 609-9163
Email: