Wednesday, June 02, 2010

New York implements statewide eyewitness ID guidelines

Via The Crime Report we learn that New York State has implemented New York DAs have proposed new statewide procedures for photo lineups:
Law enforcement statewide announced the establishment of new guidelines and best practices for photo array and lineup procedures that determine whether an individual is implicated in a crime, announced the District Attorney’s Association of New York. The guidelines are being put into place in an effort to minimize false indentifications.

Read the guidelines here.

New York will still use photo arrays whereas some researchers have suggested "sequential" photo lineups, where witnesses view suspects' pictures one at a time. Agencies like Dallas PD have gone with the sequential method, which generates a lower rate of false positives. But the rest of the guidelines seem spot on, at least on first reading.

CORRECTION/UPDATE: From Scott Greenfield at Simple Justice:
The story upon which the post was based certainly gives the impression that New York has, indeed, implemented new guidelines. The problem is that New York, meaning the entity that holds the keys to prison cells and sends out tax bills, did no such thing.

The story refers to the District Attorneys Association having come up with a tepid "best practices" for the conduct of eyewitness identifications, that suggests some reforms and is intended to forestall serious reform that might be put into law by the real New York (as in State government). In other words, it's a nice idea, but if it doesn't happen that way, so what? This isn't law. New York did not implement anything. It's a trick for the less-than-careful.
My apologies for being "less-than-careful."

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