innocence blog

A Web log for the Innocence Institute of Point Park University

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

The trouble with eyewitness IDs

Dennis Brown is free after 19 years in a Louisiana prison, released as a result of DNA evidence and the help of the New Orleans Innocence Project. Brown was serving a life sentence for rape. The DNA evidence showed blood, semen and clothing found at the scene excluded him as the rapist.

Brown was convicted as a result of an eyewitness identification. The victim picked Brown out of a lineup and insisted he was the rapist, which was enough to convince a jury to convict him. The case is another example of how bad lineups and faulty memories can lead to false identifications.

Now 36, he was 17 at the time of his arrest. Upon release, the first thing he did was to get himself a shrimp po-boy.

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