Eyewitness Misidentification Eyewitness misidentification is the single greatest cause of wrongful convictions nationwide. Eyewitness Misidentification Testimony was a factor in 75 percent of post-conviction DNA exoneration cases in the U.S., making it the leading cause of these wrongful convictions. Senate Bill 923 is a new California law. The top 5 causes of eyewitness misidentification are: limitations in human memory, witness stress and anxiety, suggestive or misleading police procedures, cross-race biases, and the fact that witnesses tend to focus more on weapons than a perpetrator’s identity. Eyewitness misidentification sent an innocent Louisiana man to prison, where he served 25 years. ​Specific Instructions: The lineup administrator should instruct the witness that the perpetrator “may or may not be present” in the lineup, that the investigation will continue regardless of whether the witness identifies the perpetrator during a lineup, and that the witness should not seek guidance from the administrator. The experiment detailed in the article found that military survival school students interrogated face-to-face for 40 minutes in a low-stress scenario could correctly identify their interrogators in a simultaneous live or photo lineup conducted the following day 62-76% of the time, while those exposed to a high-stress scenario could do so only 30-34% of the time. Cross-Racial Identification:  Eyewitness identifications of individuals of races other than the witness are, on average, less accurate than identifications of individuals of the same race, regardless of the races studied, the exposure of the eyewitness to individuals of the other race, or the degree to which the eyewitness does or does not express racist views. Far and away the most common contributing factor, eyewitness misidentifications have played a role in approximately 70% of the over 300 DNA exonerations that have occurred since the early 1990s. Every crime in California is defined by a specific code section. In eyewitness identification, in criminal law, evidence is received from a witness "who has actually seen an event and can so testify in court".. This may contribute to the disproportionate number of the wrongfully convicted who are minorities compared to the prison population as a whole. Eyewitness Misidentification The primary cause for this particular wrongful conviction is eyewitness misidentification, done by Jennifer Thompson. Definitely recommend! These causes include: eyewitness misidentification, weapon focus, false memory and a biased jury. And that presents For instance, if the suspect is bald, has an unusual hairstyle, has tattoos, is of a different race, or has other distinguishing features that cause the suspect to look significantly unlike the fillers, the witness may be unconsciously led to pick the suspect, especially if the suspect’s unique features match the witnesses’ description of the perpetrator and the features of the other lineup members do not. DUI arrests don't always lead to convictions in court. Eyewitness misidentification is the leading cause of wrongful conviction in America. It came into existence in 2018. In the aftermath of the Courtney exoneration, the San Diego Union Tribune (UT) has … Eyewitness Misidentification Under state law, perjury is defined as knowingly giving a false statement before a court of law, after taking an oath. The victim chose the innocent man’s picture out of a three-photo lineup, even though the photo of the man was eight years old. But judges and juries often find eyewitness testimony compelling. Over 100 years of scientific studies has called into question the validity and reliability of eyewitness testimony, particularly when it comes to identifying perpetrators. The worst form of a lineup is the “show-up.” Show-ups are typically used in the field and are done shortly after a crime was committed. When mistakes are made in identifying the perpetrator of a crime, wrongful convictions occur and innocent people go to jail. lem: as far as anyone can tell, eyewitness misidentification is by far the most frequent cause of erroneous convictions. This article reviews several misidentification cases in Wisconsin, including the highly publicized release of Steven Avery in September 2003, explains the leading causes of misidentification, and recommends changes to eyewitness evidence collection techniques. The bill establishes several new standards that must be used in eyewitness identification procedures, as used in California criminal investigations. However, the national Innocence Project considers this reform optional due to the recent controversy surrounding a similar pilot performed in 2005 by the Chicago Police Department and the “Illinois Report” that published its findings. © 2020 Commonwealth of Kentucky. When showing a new suspect to the same witness, administrators should avoid reusing the same fillers. Research shows that the human mind is not like a tape recorder; we neither record events exactly as we see them, nor recall them like a tape that has been rewound. Does a person’s gender affect BAC in a DUI cases? Police officer mistakes, faulty breathalyzers and crime lab errors may get your charges reduced or dismissed. Eyewitness misidentification is widely recognized as the leading cause of wrongful conviction in the U.S., accounting for more than 75% of wrongful convictions overturned through DNA testing. Misidentification is the number one cause of wrongful convictions later overturned by DNA evidence. Despite the scientific consensus that eyewitness testimony is unreliable and the Supreme Court’s recognition that “the annals of criminal law are rife with instances of mistaken identification,” eyewitness identification testimony remains among the most convincing evidence presented to jurors (Manson v. Brathwaite, 1977). An Official Website of the Commonwealth of Kentucky. Suggestive Identification. However, what happens when an eyewitness unknowingly presents false information during trial? Whether due to perjury or eyewitness/victim error, innocent people are spending time behind bars for crimes they did not commit. However, “when the description of the perpetrator differs significantly from the appearance of the suspect, fillers should resemble the suspect in significant features,” especially age, race, and such unique markings as scars and tattoos. The weapon-focus effect is related to this—the presence of a weapon draws the witnesses’ attention away from the perpetrator’s appearance to the weapon itself. the cross-race effect in eyewitness identification, both at the point of witnessing the crime and during the witness lineup. Lab-based experiments by psychological scientists have informed the legal system about ways to reduce the misidentification problem. The witness may later experience and express much greater confidence in his/her identification than the witness felt prior to hearing such comments, and may falsely attribute this greater confidence to a restoration of memory rather than to reinforcing comments or cues. As exhaustively indicated by hundreds of peer-reviewed social science publications and by the recent spate of exonerations based on DNA evidence, the memory and testimony of eyewitnesses is far from infallible. This is evidenced in “Accuracy of Eyewitness Memory for Persons Encountered During Exposure to Highly Intense Stress” (Charles Morgan, et al., 2004). But while convictions based on eyewitness errors may be more frequent than are other types of erroneous convictions, in absolute terms they are rare. The innocence Project reported that eyewitness misidentification played a role in at least 72 percent of the 325 wrongful convictions that were overturned by DNA evidence. Eyewitness Misidentification is a Serious Issue. (The National Institute of Justice guide states that “Blind procedures are not included in the Guide but are identified as a direction for future exploration and field testing” and recognizes that “investigators’ unintentional cues […] may negatively impact the reliability of eyewitness evidence” and that psychology researches have found that “such influences could be avoided if “blind” identification procedures were employed.”), Careful Lineup Composition: Lineup administrators should select fillers “who generally fit the witness’ description of the perpetrator” (NIJ Guide). This report was independently written by a working group composed of 50% law enforcement officials and 50% lawyers and researchers and organized by the U.S. Department of Justice’s research agency, the National Institute of Justice (NIJ). However, faulty eyewitness identification and testimony can lead to wrongful convictions (Figure 1). Mistaken Eyewitness Identification Did you know that over 75% of cases overturned through DNA testing involved eyewitness error? Eyewitness misidentification sent an innocent Louisiana man to prison, where he served 25 years. That is, when viewing a group of photos or individuals, a witness tends to select the person who looks "most like" the perpetrator. lineups (where a witness is shown a group of individuals). Two factors that may have contributed to Thompson’s eyewitness misidentification, include priming and the cross-race effect (Hastay, 2009; Schneider, Gruman, & Coutts, 2012). At trial, she confidently identified Anthony as her daughter’s attacker, being so convincing that even Anthony believed he would be found guilty. in-court identifications (where a witness is asked to identify the perpetrator in court). Eyewitness identifications play an important role in the investigation and prosecution of crimes, but it is well known that eyewitnesses make mistakes, often with serious consequences. Eyewitness misidentification. For instance, an administrator may tell the witness that (s)he has done a good job or has identified the same person as another witness. These include system variables, which can be substantially reduced by reforming traditional identification procedures, and estimator variables—situational factors that cannot be directly addressed by systemic reform. Estimator Variables are factors related to the witness him/herself or to the circumstances surrounding the witnesses’ observation of the perpetrator, including gaps in memory, witness stress/trauma, the relative difficulty of cross-racial identification, and the degree of attention paid by the witness to the appearance of the perpetrator during the incident. 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