New Jersey

Court Tosses Out Conviction Due to Lack of Face Tattoos in Lineup

A suspected robber's ink caused an appeals court to overturn his conviction.


|||Andrey Popov/
Andrey Popov/

A New Jersey man with face tattoos has had his conviction overturned after Trenton police detectives were accused of using "suggestive" pictures in a photo array.

According to The Trentonian, Donnell Perry was arrested in connection with the armed robbery of a grocery store in 2015. Prosecutors won their case after the owner identified Perry's picture in a photo array. While Perry maintained that he "didn't even do anything" at a hearing, he later pleaded guilty to the crime and was sentenced to seven years in prison by the Mercer County Superior Court.

On Monday, a state appeals court overturned Perry's conviction. According to the ruling, lawyers argued that the witness identification of Perry was inadmissible because his was the only mugshot that included face tattoos.

"The identification procedure was impermissibly suggestive because the witness was shown two arrays in which [Perry] was the only person with visible face markings or tattoo," Perry's lawyers argued. The court determined that Perry successfully proved "a substantial likelihood of irreparable misidentification."

The case will return to the Mercer County Superior Court.