Eyewitness Identification Reform
According to this article, “Mistaken eyewitness identification is the leading cause of wrongful convictions.” Given what I’ve been reading recently about memory and the brain, this does not surprise me at all.
New Mexico is currently debating a bill reforming eyewitness identification procedures:
Under the proposed regulations, an eyewitness must provide a written description before a lineup takes place; there must be at least six individuals in a live lineup and 10 photos in a photographic line-up; and the members of the lineup must be shown sequentially rather than simultaneously.
The bill would also restrict the amount of time in which law enforcement could bring a suspect by for a physical identification by a victim or witness to within one hour after the crime was reported. Anything beyond one hour would require a lineup with multiple photos or people.
I don’t have access to any of the psychological or criminology studies that back these reforms up, but the bill is being supported by the right sorts of people.