Illinois Enacts Eyewitness Identification Reforms

Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn signed a law in August 2014 that sets forth procedures to be followed when an eyewitness to a crime is called upon to attempt to identify the perpetrator, whether through an in-person or photographic identification procedure. The statute does not apply to a “showup,” in which a suspected perpetrator is presented to the eyewitness at or near a crime scene. Effective January 2015, the statute represents a major step forward in the effort to avoid mistaken eyewitness identifications, which causes many wrongful convictions in Illinois and elsewhere.