Saturday, March 17, 2012

Decreasing the risk of suspect misidentification

A bill introduced in the Connecticut legislature would change the way eyewitnesses to crimes are shown mugshots, reducing the risk of misidentification. 

Currently, when an eyewitness is shown a series of potential suspects, either live during a line-up, or in photos, it is done simultaneously. A recent study shows that suspects should be shown sequentially, one at a time, which results in an opinion based on the eyewitness’ memory.  The results showed that using sequential identification as opposed to simultaneous identification reduces the chance of a witness identifying an innocent person with little or no reduction in accurate identifications.

State Sen. Eric D. Coleman, D-Bloomfied, co-chairman of the legislature’s Judiciary Committee and an Eyewitness Task Force member, noted: “Just this week, a man was released from Connecticut prison after serving five years for a rape he did not commit.”  Hubert Thompson of Hartford served five years in prison for rape and was released Friday by a judge after being exonerated by newly presented DNA evidence.


For more, go to the Innocence Project: