But if the six eyewitnesses chose Lydell Grant from the lineup only because they were cued to do so by the case detective, why were they so confident in their identifications? Carter has now been indicted for the murder by a grand jury, and Lydell Grant was released from prison. As an experimental psychologist who conducts research on eyewitness identification, I’ve seen hundreds of examples of highly confident yet mistaken eyewitnesses – both in the laboratory and in actual court cases. Victoria, Proud Partnerships in Place: 2021 First Peoples Public Administration Virtual Conference One of the main causes of wrongful convictions is eyewitness misidentifications. The puzzling question in this case, though, is why did six eyewitnesses independently identify Lydell Grant as the killer and then confidently testify in court? Eyewitness identification reforms are needed and are simple to implement. In addition to implementing double-blind lineup procedures, it’s essential that lineup administrators document eyewitnesses’ confidence immediately following an identification. Faith in eyewitnesses runs so deep that despite the overwhelming proof of Grant’s innocence, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals refused his exoneration request. “The vagaries of eyewitness identification are well-known; the annals of criminal law are rife with instances of mistaken identification.”1 * Christina Begakis is a 2017 JD Candidate at Santa Clara University, School of Law with interests in social justice and criminal law. In eyewitness identification, in criminal law, evidence is received from a witness "who has actually seen an event and can so testify in court". The witnesses’ trial testimony reveals a simple explanation for these high-confidence errors: All of the eyewitnesses received confirmatory feedback following their identification of Grant. 1 Our California Criminal Defense Lawyers are here to help ensure that you or your loved done is not wrongly convicted based on misidentification. Instead, the court wants the six eyewitnesses who originally testified against Grant to respond to his claims of innocence. — But his name has not been cleared. According to the Innocence Project at the Cardozo School of Law, mistaken eyewitness identification is the primary cause of the conviction of innocent people in the United States. He defends the accused. Misidentification can happen during: lineups (where a witness is shown a group of individuals), Attachments Summaries of the cases in which 46 legally exonerated defendants were convicted and sentenced to death in whole or part based on apparently mistaken or perjured eyewitness Compared to administrators conducting double-blind lineups, these informed administrators are more likely to ask witnesses about the suspect and smile when witnesses are looking at the suspect rather than at another person in the lineup. Not only do such statements inflate eyewitnesses’ confidence in the accuracy of their identification, but they lead them to falsely remember having been that confident all along. Confidence reported at trial after the eyewitness has received confirmatory feedback is not. This non-profit organization uses DNA evidence to … Eyewitness misidentification is when a crime victim or eyewitness mistakenly identifies someone as the perpetrator of a crime even though that person did not commit the crime. Assistant Professor of Psychology, Arizona State University. Three of the eyewitnesses reported that the detective told them that they had picked the same person other people had, though the detective himself denied having made such statements. 561-832-4348, Did you know that over 75% of cases overturned through DNA testing involved eyewitness error? The defense asks the judge to order a new lineup promptly because there is a reasonable likelihood that mistaken identification may occur. The transcript from Lydell Grant’s trial revealed that the homicide detective in charge of investigating the case administered the lineup to the eyewitnesses. Since 1990, Mr. Chapman has been representing people accused of committing various types of crimes. New DNA testing on biological material collected from underneath the victim’s fingernails cleared Grant and implicated another man, Jermarico Carter, who police said confessed to the killing. March 25, 2008— -- Julius Earl Ruffin knows all too well how inaccurate eyewitness identification can be. To date, 24 states have adopted these core procedural reforms, including Texas in 2011, one year after the investigation of Aaron Scheerhoorn’s murder. Author's Note: 10 Terrible Cases of Mistaken Identity On May 3, 1982, in a Norfolk, Va. circuit court, the 29-year-old was convicted of a rape that he did not commit and was sentenced to five life sentences. The issue of admissibility of expert evidence regarding eyewitness identification remains unresolved in England and Wales. According to the trial transcript, most of the eyewitnesses testified to having been positive when they picked Grant out of the lineup. If you or a loved one requires legal defense with a mistaken identification case and you are looking to hire an attorney for representation, contact Ronald Chapman. AEDT, Victoria, Applying behavioural science to create change Eighty-five percent of the convictions overturned by DNA evidence have involved a mistaken eyewitness.1 Courts, however, have been strongly resistant to restricting suggestive identifications, allowing experts to testify about identification and memory, and changing jury instructions to warn jurors about the factors leading to honest-but-mistaken identifications, preferring instead to rely on cross … The testimony of eyewitness identification experts can aid jurors in understanding the psychology of mistaken identifications, but jurors ultimately have to try to decipher the accuracy of an identification on their own. The officer doing the lineup should not know who the suspect is in the lineup (a.k.a. This is an amazingly high number since eyewitness identification is an important factor in only 5% of all trials (Loh, 1981). By Stephanie Pappas 22 September 2011. Huff (1987) studied 500 wrongful convictions and concluded that mistaken eyewitness identification occurred in 60%. The remaining 26 states should act swiftly to prevent additional miscarriages of justice, and Lydell Grant should be exonerated. The eyewitness is required to describe the suspect. The honest but mistaken identification of a person as a criminal has been proven to pose a notable risk in causing wrongful convictions. Visual identification of suspects can be potentially unreliable, given that an honest but mistaken witness can be a compelling witness. The witness identifies the wrong person. The amount of time passed since identifying the perpetrator. A purported eyewitness, who in fact A lineup must have fillers who match the eyewitness’ description of the suspect. Jerry Brown will probably be more receptive. One eyewitness couldn’t recall whether the detective had told him anything after he identified Grant, but the detective acknowledged telling that particular eyewitness “good job” following the identification. What is Mistaken Eyewitness Identification? The frailties of eyewitness identification has lead to many instances of wrongful convictions. Only one suspect may be included in any one lineup. The following chapter deals with the safeguards that have been created to reduce the risk of mistaken identification. He defends the accused. Eyewitness Testimony Can Be Tragically Mistaken. It’s time to make eyewitness identification policies uniform and effective in order to prevent wrongful convictions. Masterclass series, Victoria, Regulatory frameworks - free webinar Ronald Chapman practices criminal defense in both State and Federal Courts within the State of Florida. Visit us at https://justiceflorida.com/ You can also connect with the West Palm Beach Criminal Defense Office online today! s Court System. Ronald Chapman is a seasoned criminal defense attorney who can conduct vigorous cross-examination and make a big difference in a case involving mistaken eyewitness identification. Your defense attorney can let you know if this lineup is a good idea. It is a common problem that can result from ‘suggestive’ police tactics, voice lineups, in-court identifications, photo arrays, and from being misidentified in a police lineup. ... Chan can't speak to the truth of the case, but he said eyewitness … The Innocence Project states that "Eyewitness misidentification is the single greatest cause of wrongful convictions nationwide, playing a role in more than 75% of convictions overturned through DNA testing." An identification or failure to make an identification will not stop the investigation. The most well meaning, honest and genuine eyewitness can, and has been, wrong. DENNIS PERRYConviction Factors Mistaken Eyewitness Identification Incentivized Witness Unrecorded Interrogation Official MisconductCharges Murder (x2)Camden County1985 Crime2000 Arrest2003 ConvictionLife Sentence20+ Years ServedCO-COUNSEL: King & S He defends the accused. In Louisiana, 15/16 DNA exonerations involved eyewitness misidentifications. Mistaken eyewitness identifications are a leading cause of wrongful convictions in the United State. The case has since become a mainstay of British legal lore and a demonstration of the unreliability of eyewitness identification — at least 16 people positively identified Beck [sources: Cathcart, Porter, Sydney Morning Herald]. In a traditional lineup, a witness views six to nine potential suspects (or their photographs) simultaneously. Moreover, confirmatory feedback can alter witnesses’ memories of the original crime, making them less able to recognize the actual perpetrator when they see him again. Nevertheless, these subtle behavioral cues affect eyewitnesses’ decisions by making them more likely to choose the suspect. A criminal defense attorney can explain the process and spot troublesome variables that may lead to mistaken eyewitness identification. In photo lineups, the officer should hide from the eyewitness any writings or information concerning any prior arrest of the suspect. Ronald Chapman can help ensure there are no wrong convictions because of misidentification. Just as double-blind clinical trials in medical studies are intended to prevent patients’ and doctors’ expectations from affecting outcomes of the clinical trial, double-blind lineups aim to prevent witnesses’ and administrators’ expectations from influencing the outcomes of the identification procedure. Mistaken eyewitness identifications are a leading cause of wrongful convictions in the United State’s Court System. Information concerning the identified person will not be given to the eyewitness before obtaining the eyewitness’ statement of confidence level and documenting the precise words of the eyewitness; The officer will not validate or invalidate the eyewitness’ identification. Applying behavioural science to create change, Proud Partnerships in Place: 2021 First Peoples Public Administration Virtual Conference, Data for Action: Using Predictive Risk Modelling Tools in Social Services Agencies, EvgeniyShkolenko/iStock via Getty Images Plus, Chicago Sun-Times/Chicago Daily News/Chicago History Museum via Getty Images, Scientific best practices for conducting eyewitness lineups, smile when witnesses are looking at the suspect, no longer tell the difference between accurate and mistaken eyewitnesses, alter witnesses’ memories of the original crime, less able to recognize the actual perpetrator, is informative regarding the eyewitness’s accuracy, 24 states have adopted these core procedural reforms, Associate Lecturer or Lecturer, (ECDF) in Digital Health, Research Officers | Multiple Roles | Bioinformatics Division, Dean, Joseph L. Rotman School of Management. Much of the recent debate involves lineups — or, more commonly, photo arrays. The processes at play in Lydell Grant’s case are predictable and unfortunately common. Coherency and sobriety level of the victim. Defendants have the right to have their criminal defense attorney present at pretrial lineups. On the strength of six eyewitnesses’ lineup identifications, Lydell Grant was sentenced to life in prison in 2012 for the murder of a young Texas man, Aaron Scheerhoorn, who was stabbed to death outside a Houston nightclub in 2010. Mistaken eyewitness identifications contributed to approximately 71% of the more than 360 wrongful convictions in the United States overturned by post-conviction DNA evidence.• Inaccurate eyewitness identifications can confound investigations from the earliest stages. Police lineups have evolved over time, but some states still need to catch up. Sixth Amendment Right – Defendants have the right to have their criminal defense attorney present at pretrial lineups. Witnesses aren’t able to tell whether their testimony was influenced in this way. Eyewitness Identification Testimony ... or her exoneration in the eyewitness cases was 95 months — just short of 12 years. There are 82 DNA exoneration cases in which one eyewitness identification was the only evidence presented, including the cases of Marvin Anderson, Rickie Johnson and Clifford Jones. The detective also admitted making a similar comment to at least one other witness. As a result, witnesses who have received confirmatory feedback provide testimony that is highly persuasive to jurors. [You’re smart and curious about the world. — What is Mistaken Eyewitness Identification? You can get our highlights each weekend. Contact him today to begin to discuss your case. The Supreme Court of Canada has described the unique danger of eyewitness identification in being “that it is deceptively credible, largely because it … It is a common problem that can result from ‘suggestive’ police tactics, voice lineups, in-court identifications, photo arrays, and from being misidentified in a police lineup. Call (561) 832-4348 or visit his, Visit us at https://justiceflorida.com/ You can also connect with the, West Palm Beach Criminal Defense Office online. ‘When someone is wrongly accused of a crime, two people are trapped on the dark side of justice, while the real perpetrator remains free’, stated by identity expert, Elizabeth Loftus. As an experimental psychologist who conducts research on eyewitness identification, I’ve seen hundreds of examples of highly confident yet mistaken eyewitnesses – both in the laboratory and in actual court cases. Such behaviors are often inadvertent; neither lineup administrators nor eyewitnesses may be consciously aware that they’re happening. Evans Lineup – The defense asks the judge to order a new lineup promptly because there is a reasonable likelihood that mistaken identification may occur. Ronald Chapman can help ensure there are no wrong convictions because of misidentification. Criminal Defense Attorney West Palm Beach. One might assume that Grant was the murderer’s unlucky doppelganger. It is clear that eyewitness testimony and eyewitness identifications play important roles in the apprehension, prosecution, and adjudication of criminal offenders. Prior reform bills were vetoed by then-California Governor Schwarzenegger but Gov. If possible, the officer should make an electronic recording that includes audio and visual representations of the line-ups. Scientific best practices for conducting eyewitness lineups require that the person administering the lineup not know who the police suspect. Ronald Chapman can help ensure there are no wrong convictions because of misidentification. . Instead, the court wants the six eyewitnesses who originally testified against Grant to respond to his claims of innocence. Schedule your FREE Consultation! It’s a fact that eyewitnesses make mistakes. Call (561) 832-4348 or visit his website. Schedule your FREE Consultation! It is in everyone’s best interest to avoid mistaken identification. But a comparison of the pair’s mugshots reveals that they bear little physical resemblance to one another beyond both being Black men. He found that sequential lineups resulted in a significant decrease in the false identification rate, with only a small drop in the correct identification rate. Law enforcement and the courts should follow the recommendations of social scientists when using and assessing eyewitness techniques, such as lineups, in criminal cases. 28 However the Scottish case of Gage v HM Advocate, which was a case referred to the high court by the Scottish Criminal Case Review Commission, may be indicative of how the issue could be resolved in England in Wales. Ronald S. Chapman, P.A. All eyewitnesses must be separated during a lineup. There have been hundreds of cases in which mistaken eyewitness identification testimony led to the conviction of innocent people. Such is the well-known case of Jennifer Thompson, who when 22 years-old was raped at knife point. — Psychological experiments have shown that lineup administrators who know who the suspect is end up cuing witnesses toward that person. “double-blind lineups”). When an eyewitness or victim mistakenly identifies someone as the criminal. They are the leading cause of wrongful convictions in sexual assault and robbery cases. All six of those eyewitnesses were wrong. It’s a fact that eyewitnesses … One of the most dramatic cases of eyewitness misidentification occurred in North Carolina. Summaries of 46 Cases in Which Mistaken or Perjured Eyewitness Testimony Put Innocent Persons on Death Row Adams, Randall Dale (convicted 1977, exonerated 1989) — Mr. Adams was sentenced to death for the murder of a police officer in Dallas County, Texas. ‘When someone is wrongly accused of a crime, two people are trapped on the dark side of justice, while the real perpetrator remains free’, stated by identity expert. having the lineup, and the lineup should happen as quickly as possible after the incident. Ronald Chapman, an experienced criminal defense lawyer, dedicated to defending your rights. In one study, people playing the role of jurors were able to reliably distinguish between accurate and mistaken eyewitnesses when the witnesses had not received any confirmatory feedback. Mistaken eyewitness identifications contributed to approximately 70% of the 363 wrongful convictions in the United States overturned by post-conviction DNA evidence. Contact him today to begin to discuss your case. Of course, he knew that Lydell Grant was the one under suspicion. But in the 1980s, Wells started testing a new method: sequential lineups, in which possible suspects are viewed one at a time rather than all at once. There are also a significant number of wrongful conviction cases in which multiple eyewitnesses were mistaken and the conviction rested entirely on that evidence. So are The Conversation’s authors and editors. Mistaken eyewitness identifications are a leading cause of wrongful convictions in the United State ’ s Court System. In other words, the confirmatory remark made the mistaken eyewitnesses just as persuasive as the accurate ones. Indooroopilly, Queensland, Copyright © 2010–2020, The Conversation Media Group Ltd. Mugshots of Lydell Grant (left, in 2010) and Jermarico Carter (right, in 2007) show the men don’t look very similar. What You Need to Know About Kidnapping and Florida Law, Everything You Need to Know About Police Interrogations in Florida, Palm Beach County Domestic Battery Attorney, Palm Beach County Seal and Expunge Attorney, Computer Fraud – Obtaining Financial Information, Fraud in Connection with Counterfeit Credit Cards, Making a False Statement to a Federal Agency, Possessing a Controlled Substance with the Intent to Distribute, Smuggling Merchandise into the United States. today! Laura Smalarz does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment. The officer may not say anything to an eyewitness that could influence his/her identification of the suspect. Conference, Victoria, Data for Action: Using Predictive Risk Modelling Tools in Social Services Agencies The way to avoid these problems with eyewitness testimony is for police to adopt best practices based on the psychological research. Research has repeatedly demonstrated that simple confirming comments such as these have dramatic effects on eyewitnesses’ testimony. Consider the case of Jennifer Thompson, a North Carolina woman who was raped at knif… Did you know that over 75% of cases overturned through DNA testing involved eyewitness error? If the eyewitness identifies a person he/she believes to be the suspect, all of the following shall apply: The investigator will immediately ask about the eyewitness’ confidence level in the accuracy of the identification and record in writing, word for word, what the. When an eyewitness or victim mistakenly identifies someone as the criminal. As the crime took place, Thompson carefully studied the appearance of her assailant and later identified him as Ronald Cotton -- who spent over 10 years of a life sentence in prison before DNA … Given what we know about the vagaries of eyewitness ID, this can be a difficult task. As of October 14, 2014, 35% of the exonerations in the Registry include mistaken eyewitness identifications, 509 cases out of 1446. Arizona State University provides funding as a member of The Conversation US. Yet, eyewitness testimony is considered compelling evidence and has for years been the foundation upon which many cases have been brought to trial. In 1984, someone broke into the apartment of a college student named Jennifer Thompson and raped her. But when the witnesses had received a simple reinforcing comment following their identification (“Good job, you got the guy”), the mock jurors could no longer tell the difference between accurate and mistaken eyewitnesses. Your defense attorney can let you know if this lineup is a good idea. — Despite a high rate of error (as many as 1 in 4 stranger eyewitness identifications are wrong), eyewitness identifications are considered some of the most powerful evidence against a suspect. When an eyewitness or victim mistakenly identifies someone as the criminal. There is no denying the powerful impact at trial of a witness for the prosecution stating with confidence and conviction that the accused was the person observed committing the crime. Mistaken identification is the leading cause of over 75% of the wrongful conviction cases across the country. 400 Clematis Street, Suite 206 The Report also recommends the creation of a National Research Initiative on Eyewitness Identification to coordinate future research and help make use of its findings. Weapon-focus is when the victim focuses more on the weapon used than the criminal’s face. A criminal defense attorney can explain the process and spot troublesome variables that may lead to mistaken eyewitness identification. Two other eyewitnesses, a couple, remembered discussing their selection with one another and confirming each other’s decisions. West Palm Beach, FL 33401 So, there is little to be gained from speaking to the original eyewitnesses from Lydell Grant’s case. Of the 43 DNA exonerations in Texas, the most of any state, more than 80 percent were due to mistaken eyewitness identification, as were all … However, experience has shown that erroneous and mistaken identifications have and do occur, resulting in the wrongful conviction of the factually innocent. If you are facing criminal charges in Florida, Ronald Chapman can help. — Over 75% of cases so far overturned through DNA testing involved some form of eyewitness error. One reported that he had identified Grant without doubt or hesitation. In one case, 5 separate witnesses identified the defendant. The tragic consequences of mistaken eyewitness identification in cases have been chronicled and jurors and Trial Judges should have the benefit of expert evidence on this important subject.
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