NACDL - Eyewitness ID

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Eyewitness ID

According to the Innocence Project, 70% of 354 DNA-based exonerations nationwide involved mistaken eyewitness identifications. However, there are ways to prevent this, including reforms to police department procedures.

NACDL supports changes in eyewitness procedures that are proven to improve the reliability of eyewitness testimony without impeding police investigations.  Among the most important reforms is the adoption “double blind” sequential lineup procedures, which means that suspects are shown one by one to the witness, which reduces the possibility of the witness picking the person who looks most like the culprit. This also means that the procedure is conducted by a police officer who does not know the identity of the suspect, which thus prevents the officer from unconsciously or consciously providing cues to the witness.


Litigation

NACDL v. Evanston (Flawed IL Pilot Study and Mecklenburg Report) 

New Jersey v. Henderson (Eyewitness ID Admissibility and Jury Instruction) and Perry v. New Hampshire


Eyewitness ID Legislative Tracking

In 2019, New Mexico and Oklahoma's state legislatures passed eyewitness identification measures. New Mexico's HB 342 requires training for law enforcement in the area of eyewitness identification. Oklahoma's SB 798 now requires all law enforcement agencies in the state to adopt a written policy on eyewitness identification procedures, including blind administration of lineups/photo arrays.

View legislation related to eyewitness identification reform that NACDL is currently tracking.

Eyewitness ID Legislative Report


Resources

Below, please find information on newly released reports and other resources.

Organizational Resources:

Eyewitness ID News Releases

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Eyewitness ID Champion Articles

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