Wretched partly blames DPD's faulty photo lineups for Fuller's wrongful conviction. It's always a powerful moment when a witness in court points to a defendant and says they're guilty. But how that identification is made can influence witnesses to mistakenly finger an innocent defendant. Writes the Dallas public defender:
The worst part about this is the eyewitness identification techniques. When the police show a victim a photo lineup and the victim can't identify the perpetrator or is tentative about making the identification, the next step is very tricky. As psychologists will tell you, if the police show another photo lineup where the only person in common with the first lineup is the suspect they want the victim to identify, the victim is likely to identify the suspect based on the fact that they've seen him mulitple times (not b/c he's the actual perpetrator). It's a more subtle way to suggest the answer to the victim during the lineup (another old, and thankfully abandoned, trick would be putting five white males in with the one black male who just so happens to be the suspect).Mistaken eyewitnesses are a lot more common than most people think. Personally I think all eyewitness testimony should be corroborated where the witness did not previously know the suspect - that would go a long way to reducing the number of innocent people convicted of crimes. The Innocence Project reports the main factors leading to wrongful convictions in 130 DNA exonerations they've secured so far were:
- 3 Faulty DNA Inclusions at Time of Trial
- 35 False Confessions
- 21 Informants/Snitches Giving Inaccurate Testimony
- 21 Innacurate Microscopic Hair Comparison Matches
- 101 Mistaken I.D.