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From the summary: Research on factors that affect the accuracy of eyewitness identification procedures has given us an increasingly clear picture of how identifications are made, and more importantly, an improved understanding of the principled limits on vision and memory that can lead to failure of identification.
Groups like Scheck leads have been making these recommendations for years now. Previous NAS studies on forensic specialties like bullet lead composition have made a pretty big splash.
The studies helped overturn a number of wrongful convictions and led to procedural changes in police agencies and crime labs across the country, including at the FBI.
These limitations can produce mistaken identifications with significant consequences.
Writing about the study in USA Today, Innocence Project co-founder Barry Scheck points out that 73 percent of the wrongful convictions so far overturned by DNA testing included false identification by eyewitnesses.
The good news is that there are some simple procedures police and prosecutors can follow to vastly improve the integrity of eyewitness testimony.
The bad news is that because these procedures result in fewer identifications, police and prosecutors have been reluctant to implement them.She earned her Ph D in English from the University of Georgia in 2015.There are 18 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page.The witness should also be told that the perpetrator might or might not be present, and that the investigation will continue regardless of whether he or she identifies anyone.The researchers also recommend that police take a confidence statement.More from Scheck: The NAS report has endorsed several specific, science-based recommendations for law enforcement that are already in place in some jurisdictions about the way identification procedures should be conducted.Since witnesses often pick up inadvertent clues from the officer conducting a live or photo lineup, these procedures must be performed “blind” by an officer who is unaware of the identity of the suspect or who does not know the position of the suspect in the lineup.In short, social science and psychiatric studies have shown that our attention is fleeting, our recollection ephemeral and our memory malleable.The video below is one of the more well-known examples of how easy it can be to miss key details of a scene while we’re distracted with other things. If you haven’t already seen or read about it, you can take it right now before reading on.Unknown to the individual, memories are forgotten, reconstructed, updated, and distorted.Complicating the process further, policies governing law enforcement procedures for conducting and recording identifications are not standard, and policies and practices to address the issue of misidentification vary widely.