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Eyewitness ID

According to the Innocence Project, approximately 71% of the more than 360 DNA-based exonerations nationwide involved mistaken eyewitness identifications. However, there are ways to prevent this, including reforms to police department procedures.

Litigation    State Reform
Additional Resources on Eyewitness ID

NACDL supports changes in eyewitness procedures that are proven to increase the reliability of eyewitness testimony without impeding police investigations. Among the most important reforms is the adoption “double blind” sequential lineup procedures, in which suspects are shown one by one to the witness. This 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.


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 State Reform

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.

Consider joining NACDL’s State Criminal Justice Network (SCJN) to exchange information, share resources, and develop strategies for promoting policies related to eyewitness identification and other pressing issues.  

State Criminal Justice Network


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