innocence blog

A Web log for the Innocence Institute of Point Park University

Monday, May 02, 2005

False i.d.'s in NYC

Police departments across the country are starting to realize that witnesses who falsely identify suspects are a major cause of wrongful convictions. About three quarters of the 157 people who were freed by DNA evidence were originally convicted because of a bad eyewitness i.d.

The Innocence Institute is running a series on false eyewitness i.d.’s in Pennsylvania in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette next week. A story in the New York Sun shows the problem is a major issue in that state, too.

New York ranks second among states with the highest number of wrongful convictions. In one case, a man was exonerated after serving 8 ½ years in prison based on faulty eyewitness identification procedures performed by the NYPD. The problem continues to exist in New York because of a state law requiring police to use live lineups and the failure of police there to embrace reforms that help prevent false i.d.'s.

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