The department resisted what a spokesman called "knee-jerk reactions" to exonerations and new research that changed laws in three states and eyewitness procedures in at least five major departments including Dallas.
Capt. Greg Stevens said in a recent interview current procedures would make impossible a repeat of the series of errors that produced cases such as that of Tim Cole, Texas' first posthumous pardon recipient, who died innocent in prison serving a Lubbock sentence based heavily on the misidentification of a rape victim ...
"Not ever would that one piece of evidence be used to even, even substantiate a case against somebody," Stevens said. "It would have to be corroborated with more evidence, more information."See the rest of the lengthy article by Elliot Blackburn for details of the overturned conviction. It's hard to find credible LPD's claims that eyewitness testimony would never be used by itself to convict. After all, the law doesn't require corroboration, regrettably, and neither did Lubbock police and prosecutors as recently as 2008. In reality, unless and until the law corroboration for eyewitnesses (at least, for those who previously didn't know the suspect), neither will law enforcement. And clearly departments like Lubbock won't change their policies until they're forced to do so, either. It's rather silly to expect anyone to believe otherwise. Until then, according to eyewitness ID expert Gary Wells:
But a life sentence reversed by the Seventh Court of Appeals of Texas in 2008 - more than 20 years after the Cole investigation and several years after changes Stevens described - indicated eyewitness identification could make up the bulk of a case.
"LPD's procedures are woefully out of date and do not at all look like those of a police department that has taken this problem seriously," Wells wrote in an e-mailed response to questions. "They have seemingly ignored the science on this as well as the recommendations of the Department of Justice and virtually every task force in the country that has delved into this issue."Regular readers know that legislation to require updated eyewitness ID policies appeared to be on the fast track for passage in 2009 then died in the end-of-session meltdown over Voter ID. Since then, most Texas departments have failed to change policies on their own steam, so expect this subject to come up again in 2011 at the Lege, whether Lubbock PD is ready to change or not.