- Lubbock Avalanche Journal
- The Texas Tribune
- The Austin American-Statesman
- San Antonio Express-News
- KCBD-TV Lubbock
Changing what happens at the street-level in law enforcement can be as much about changing attitudes as rules. In many jurisdictions, the necessity of enacting a policy will force departments to think concretely about eyewitness identification issues for the very first time. As that happens, one hopes that discussion behind the scenes in agencies across the state will greatly assist in changing the ground-level culture of how lineups are handled. After all, it's not like most cops want to pick the wrong guy.
Will the bill stop misidentifications? No. Such errors occur too frequently, and in fact are far and away the leading single cause of false convictions. Memory plays tricks and errors happen too often. But the legislation would establish some baseline uniformity and professionalism regarding how lineups are handled, taking important first steps that wouldn't otherwise happen at most agencies without a law.
See related Grits posts:
- How much do eyewitnesses really see?
- Eyewitnesses and the 'feeling of knowing'
- Eyewitnesses in staged test only 8% accurate
- More on the fallibility of eyewitness testimony
- Eyewitnesses miss big changes in their environment, like the person in front of them
- Study: 88% of police and sheriffs have no written policy on eyewitness ID procedures, even fewer follow best practices
- CCA Integrity Unit: Eyewitness ID reform should be top innocence priority