Select Page Eyewitness Identification One of the main causes of wrongful convictions is eyewitness misidentifications.
The Innocence Project reports that the single most frequently-occurring cause of wrongful convictions is misidentification by a victim or eyewitness. There is established an Eyewitness Identification Task force to study issues concerning eyewitness identification in criminal investigations and the use of sequential live and photo lineups.
The task force shall examine: As has been demonstrated by the exoneration of James Calvin Tillman, misidentification by eyewitnesses accounts for a large majority of wrongful convictions occurring in our justice system.
In June,DNA technology freed James Calvin Tillman from eighteen and a half years of imprisonment for crimes which he did not commit. His wrongful conviction was the result largely of misidentification.
In January,through the same DNA technology, the real perpetrator was identified and arrested. Significant research in the field of eyewitness identification indicates that the risks of mistaken eyewitness identification are reduced when the techniques Photo array lineup vs in person lineup in this bill are used.
First, it is common knowledge that in the majority of criminal cases the offender is someone the victim knows, as opposed to a stranger.
Photo arrays and live lineups are not necessary or relevant in a large percentage of the criminal investigations. Although many of the practices suggested in the guide make good sense, the issue is that the foundation for this legislation is over twelve years old.
What happens when this guide is updated in the future? We will have codified guidelines that are out of date and have to enact new laws. The language of the guide forecasts that the guide is just that, a guide.
Officers should be informed of the existence of these policies and yet must be free to focus on their investigations, applying practices and procedures from these policies that are applicable to their case. Division of Criminal Justice: Stebbins, Acting Commissioner, Dept.
Many of the statutory changes proposed by this bill have already been put in place by the Dept. There are two changes in this bill that are not.
The first change would require having a lineup administrator who does not know the identity of the suspect.
The change would involve bringing an unfamiliar trooper in to present and document the outcome of the lineup. This would divert agency resources from other need areas and would appear unnecessary in view of the fact that the officer is directed to avoid words, gestures or expressions that could influence the witness' selection.
The second possible change involves how the lineup will be presented to the eyewitness. The bill requires that person in the lineup be presented sequentially, not simultaneously. Currently the agency uses eight 8 window photo boards and shows the lineup simultaneously.
Everyone involved in the criminal justice system is well aware that eyewitness identifications can be a double edged sword. It is prone to stunning inaccuracy, but it is also perhaps the most compelling testimony in a courtroom.
Therefore, we have an obligation to ensure that this testimony is as accurate as possible. This bill would reduce the probability of error or of undue influence by law enforcement by requiring that the line up or photo array be shown in sequential order and when possible, the person conducting the identification procedure should not know the identity of the suspect and that fillers in the line up generally fit the description of the suspect.
This bill would create a task force that should help create support within the law enforcement community for these procedural changes and should lessen the resistance that these proposals have faced in the past. A requirement that law enforcement adopt procedures already in use in many states will decrease the likelihood that an identification procedure will result in a wrongful conviction.
The reforms are likely to save money in the long run, by reducing the need for motions to suppress identifications and for defense experts to testify about the potential flaws in the traditional procedures in hearing and at trial. This will likely save time and money for the court system, prosecutors, public defenders and police departments.
In Massachusetts, reforms similar to those proposed here are credited with improving conviction rates. The cost of implementing this proposal can be quite small. The benefits are enormous. I am a retired Ct. I was the author of the court's opinion in State v.
Since leaving the Supreme Court I have extensively studied the entire issue of the science of eyewitness identification and I have come to several conclusions.
First, when it is reliable, it is an essential tool in convicting the guilty. When it is unreliable, however, it means, not only that an innocent person is likely to be convicted, but that, just as bad, a guilty person will be left free, uninvestigated, to continue to commit other crimes.The picture that Mason identified consisted of two men, and the other person in the picture was also in a photograph in the black-and-white photographic array.
|McCOWAN v. STATE | S.E.2d () | | alphabetnyc.com||Cutler and Penrod examined eyewitness identification accuracy from controlled studies performed in "natural settings. Later the clerk views a photospread and identifies the "customer.|
|Division of Criminal Justice Home||On December 14,then 18 years old, Anderson was convicted by a jury of robbery, forcible sodomy, abduction, and two counts of rape.|
Mason distinguished the defendant from the other man by noting that the defendant was wearing a pink shirt. Photo Lineup.
A presentation of photographs to a victim or witness of a crime. A photo lineup, also known as a photo array and or photo display, is a procedure used by law enforcement personnel to discover or confirm the identity of a criminal suspect.
a copy of the photo array, photos of the live lineup, interviews, depositions, excerpts of hearing and trial testimony, and photos of the relevant crime-scene area. At his deposition, Dr.
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SUPREME COURT OF THE UNITED STATES. No. 10– BARION PERRY, PETITIONER. v. identify a particular person as the perpetrator of a crime.
dures, for example, at a lineup, showup, or photograph array. When no improper law enforcement activity is involved, we hold, it suffices to test reliability through the. original photo lineup and any notes taken by the officers during the photo lineup identifications.
Petitioner claims that throughout the trial, questions arose regarding the procedure used to allow witnesses to make an out-of-court identification using the photo lineup.