The 2017 decision by the Court of Appeals in Mr. Boone’s case made New York one of only a handful of states with a cross-race effect rule. Update 9/27/11 NPR just published an excellent article that examines the debate over using eyewitness testimony to convict suspects in death penalty cases. Eyewitness Identification Jed S. Rakoff & Elizabeth F. Loftus Abstract: Inaccurate eyewitness testimony is a leading cause of wrongful convictions. As a result, victims who sought only justice sent innocent men to prison while the real criminals went free and committed other violent crimes. For nearly a century, police and prosecutors have been on notice that relying on eyewitness testimony is risky. Francisco Carrillo, Jr., was wrongfully convicted of a fatal drive-by shooting. Fountain took to the streets after his mother died in 2005. "We are dealing with a deeply entrenched institutional attitude towards criminal justice that works on an us-vs.-them philosophy," said Amarillo attorney Jeff Blackburn, chief counsel for the Innocence Project of Texas. Five other exonerees have sued the cities of Dallas, Irving and Garland, claiming that a lack of formal identification policies and inadequate police training and supervision demonstrated "deliberate indifference" to their civil rights. Eyewitness testimony has been studied by legal experts and psychologists since the early twentieth century. Eyewitness testimony is considered by juries to be a reliable form of evidence, if a person saw something happen then surely it happened. Four men were suspects in other unsolved crimes. Weeks of testimony from Canadian police and border officials in Huawei Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou's U.S. extradition hearings wrapped up … 1 By contrast, a search of the exact phrase “eyewitness memory is reliable” yielded only 2 hits. In 2018, together we’ve exonerated nine innocent people, the most ever in the Innocence Project's 26-year history, and helped pass 17 wrongful conviction reforms in 14 states. To the credit of years of screenwriters, witness testimony, especially eyewitness testimony, is extremely valuable in any legal proceeding. Fountain's photo was shown to the victim four hours after the rape. In addition to an almost slavish reliance on eyewitness testimony, a review of the Dallas County DNA cases showed that: *Thirteen of the 19 wrongly convicted men were black. He said he refuses to ever again live under someone else's rules. Exoneree Donald Wayne Good, in a federal civil rights lawsuit, accuses an Irving police detective of deliberately underexposing his lineup photo to obscure a facial scar and tattoo. When told his office prosecuted one of the 19 DNA exonerees, Andrew Gossett, Hill said the two prosecutors on the case were incompetent holdovers from the previous administration. Hill was district attorney in April 2001 when Texas prisoners won the right to file for post-conviction DNA testing. Only five police departments in Dallas County, including the Dallas Police Department, provided The News with written policies regarding eyewitness investigations. Here’s the year-ahead outlook for key Dallas-Fort Worth industries, Dallas County reports 2,292 coronavirus cases, 15 deaths; Texas again posts record hospitalizations, What you need to know about coronavirus, plus a map of every case in Texas. Mr. Jones filed a motion for postconviction relief, the petition said, and Judge Kevin Moriarty held a hearing last year. Waller spent 16 years in prison before DNA exonerated him in July. Case Study of Eyewitness Testimony. As in Fountain's case, questions persist about the fairness police officers demonstrated in obtaining identifications from photo lineups. The new law, however, does not allow for the possibility of such testimony in all cases — only those in which the eyewitness identification is not corroborated by physical or scientific evidence. A Man Was Jailed For 20 Years Due To A Single Eyewitness — Who Now Wants To Recant. Eyewitnesses statements often play a vital role in securing criminal convictions – police surveys show that eyewitness testimony is the main form of evidence in more than 20% of cases… That, says Moore, first assistant to Watkins, is "the assembly line" of criminal justice. Texas leaders’ plea for COVID-19 vaccines to be used quickly adds to big confusion over rollout rules, Police rescue woman, her dog from flooded SUV in White Rock Creek in Far North Dallas, In a year of negative news, ‘Leaning Tower of Dallas’ tilted toward the positive, Sprawling ranch southeast of Dallas sells to developer with plans for thousands of homes, After 40 years, the Kliff Klub says goodbye. The case rested solely on the testimony of the victim, Ann Meng, a young mother of three who confidently pointed to Ruffin as her assailant. It was alleged that Moshoeu was thrown from a moving bakkie and died as a result of the injuries incurred in April 2017. Loftus & Palmer). He was the only man wearing a dark baseball cap and light-colored warm-up suit, similar to what the attacker had on. They are not doing so in bad faith. Misreporting a UFO or Bigfoot will likely have few consequences, except perhaps for the eyewitness’s credibility. Apparent murder-suicide in Richardson under investigation. But that hasn't stopped them from using it to prosecute cases - sometimes sending the innocent to prison. And in 1975, the Texas Legislature amended state law to make it easier to prosecute sexual assaults without evidence to corroborate eyewitness testimony. *Police officers used suggestive lineup procedures, sometimes pressured victims to pick their suspect and then cleared the case once an identification was made. In a lineup, his photograph was the only one among the six images to be that of a light-skinned man. Eyewitness testimony can be the heart of a criminal case. "Back then, all they needed was testimony of the victim," he said. Critics contend photo arrays are inherently vulnerable to manipulation: the detective's body language, the instruction the witness receives, feedback provided by officers if an identification is made. Eyewitness testimony can be the heart of a criminal case. In many cases, it will play a crucial role in how your truck accident claim proceeds. June 21, 2018. criminal proceedings, eyewitness testimonies are the conclusions and implications for legal practice in most important piece of evidence (e.g., Howe, Knott, & Conway, 2018). A review of the photo lineups in the other DNA exonerations showed that one wrongly convicted man from Dallas County was a former neighbor of the victim. "And they are closing their eyes to it. "Everyone gets sloppy," said P.E. Court Says Eyewitness Testimony in Crash Case Was Improper but Harmless The Pennsylvania Superior Court has ruled that the testimony of … Eyewitness identification testimony is widely accepted in the courts. Attorneys and investigators who work to free the innocent contend that such an adversary mentality contributes to wrongful convictions. A photo's age can obscure physical changes. But increasingly it is being found that this is not the case. And we just take the case and adopt what the police say.". She has also written about child criminals, growing up in prison, wrongful convictions, police shootings and the flaws of eyewitness testimony. Misidentifications have been cited as a key factor in an estimated 75 percent of the 220 wrongful convictions exposed by DNA testing nationwide since 1989. Eyewitness testimony is considered by juries to be a reliable form of evidence, if a person saw something happen then surely it happened. This is true if the eyewitness testimony is of a different type as well. Bill Hill, the only surviving Wade protégé who was district attorney before Watkins, said he was confident his assistants verified the accuracy of all eyewitness identifications. Taxpayers spent more than $3 million in compensation and incarceration for the Dallas County cases alone. Reviewing The Case for Christ (The Eyewitness Evidence Can the Biographies of Jesus Be Trusted? Wiley Fountain was the obvious choice among the six Polaroids police assembled for the rape victim to view. Skeptics routinely bring up alleged contradictions in the eyewitness accounts (both in general, and in the case of the New Testament particularly), as proof that such testimony is unreliable. This recollection is used as evidence to show what happened from a witness' point of view. 2. An eight-month review by The News of previously closed prosecution files found, however, that the faulty identifications were the predictable consequences of a criminal justice system that ignored safeguards meant to protect the innocent. Most prosecutors across the U.S. have maintained an equally deep devotion despite the swelling number of wrongful convictions exposed by DNA testing. Nearly two decades ago, Richard A. Jones was convicted of aggravated robbery after being picked out of a lineup by witnesses who said he stole a cellphone in a Walmart parking lot in Kansas. Fountain said he collected $190,000 in compensation from the state, gave most of it to his family, and a girlfriend drained the rest from his bank account. Dallas Police Chief David Kunkle said investigators sometimes were too focused on their suspect and ignored signs that someone else could be guilty. Photo arrays are usually shown outside the presence of defense attorneys and with no audio or video recordings. He spent 20 years in prison before his conviction was overturned in 2011. -Fourteen cases were prosecuted during former District Attorney Henry Wade's tenure, which ended in 1986 and was marked by hardball trial tactics and high conviction rates. I had to throw it out there.”. When a Maryland resident is facing criminal allegations, it can be quite disheartening. Prosecutors believed her. In January 2007, Craig Watkins became the state's first elected black district attorney and quickly focused on wrongful convictions. In every instance but one, a Dallas Morning News investigation found, police and prosecutors built their case on eyewitness accounts, even though they knew such testimony can be fatally flawed. But while Mr. Jones, who maintains he is innocent, was serving his 19-year sentence at Lansing Correctional Facility, inmates told him he looked like a prisoner named Ricky. He is trying to instill in his prosecutors the need to be more skeptical and to seek out corroboration, Watkins said. We are republishing it because exonerations continue to be a topic of interest in Dallas County. “I knew it was, at that time, it was my only shot,” he said. "I would say, knowing what I know now, that's not good procedure," said Lana Myers, now a felony court judge. “This compensation is relatively small given the unfathomable hardship of 17 years of wrongful imprisonment,” the petition says. The story of his wrongful conviction and that of 18 others is lifting the curtain on criminal justice in Dallas County, which has led the nation in DNA exonerations since 2001. One juror, Michael Reeb, said any doubts about the prosecution's case were overcome by the testimony of the victim, a young clerk pregnant with her third child. On Wednesday, he filed a petition in the 10th Judicial District Court of Kansas, seeking more than $1.1 million in compensation from the state — or about $65,000 for each year of the 17 years he spent in prison for a robbery he said he did not commit, starting when he was 25 years old and a father of two young daughters. Cases of wrongfully convicted defendants proven innocent through DNA technology years later have captured the attention of many in Charlotte and across the country. eyewitness testimony: A comparison of Norwegian and US judges', Psychology, Crime & Law, 14:3, 177 — 188 To link to this article: DOI: 10.1080/10683160701580099 The Times says that wrongful convictions plague California, but the problem is nationwide. If a victim was positive of an identification, that was usually good enough for him and his prosecutors. Eyewitness testimony can thus be critiqued on several grounds: having impaired perception, having impaired memory, having an inconsistent testimony, having bias or prejudice, and not having a reputation for telling the truth. "I was a tough prosecutor, but I only wanted the guilty to be charged and tried.". I don't know what he's done with the pants, but let's go with the identity," Reeb said. "I call them misconduct identifications," the Innocence Project's Blackburn said. Dallas and many other police departments use computer programs to generate "filler" photos for lineups based on general descriptions entered by a detective. And all of a sudden, it comes back to bite you.". Today, he is free but homeless, scrounging for aluminum cans on the rugged streets of South Dallas. Research has long shown that memory is both fallible and malleable. posted in Criminal Defense on Thursday, February 22, 2018. But Mr. Jones was convicted and sent to prison in 2000. The real criminal later was imprisoned for burglary. "You think you have a slam-dunk case, and so you don't go in there and dot your I's and cross your T's. “I just want my name to be clear,” he said. In addition to an almost slavish reliance on eyewitness testimony, a review of the Dallas County DNA cases showed that: *Thirteen of the 19 wrongly convicted men were black. So did the jury. "You'd ask them just to make sure there wasn't any deviation from the script," he said. https://www.nytimes.com/2018/08/30/us/kansas-doppelganger-richard-jones.html After spending more than 215 years in prison combined, our clients are where they belong: home with their loved ones. At the trial two years later, the prosecutor's case rested on an eyewitness account by Fairbanks resident Arlo Olson, who testified that as he stood in the doorway of Eagles Hall, he watched in horror as a group of men, whom he identified as the defendants, accosted and savagely beat Dayton in a parking lot 450 feet away. Social scientists describe this as "confirmation bias," saying it shores up a shaky identification. The lead detectives were nearly all seasoned veterans. One student stood up and shouted that he wanted to show how the topic was related to Christian ethics. Since then, two men have confessed to the crime. 3081 words (12 pages) Essay. Whether the shooting was justified or not, the role of the original eyewitness played a crucial part in the deaths. Eyewitness Testimony and the Flowers Case. Cogent Psychology: Vol. Brad Lollar, a Wade prosecutor from 1978 to 1982, said he did not grill police investigators about how they obtained a victim identification. Another worked at the same business. Sometimes he stays at his sister's home in Seagoville, but never long. Photo lineups gained popularity after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 1967 that suspects in live lineups had the right to have an attorney present. "Eyewitness testimony was gold," said Kevin Brooks, who heads the district attorney's felony trial bureau. Some tried to preserve shaky identifications by withholding evidence that pointed to other potential suspects. The lead prosecutor in the case said she didn't doubt the victim and was not bothered by the way the photo lineup was constructed. The U.S. Supreme Court declined Monday to consider whether a state can block defense lawyers from attacking the dependability of eyewitness testimony. They are doing so because they really believe it. By Steve McGonigle|Staff Writer and Jennifer Emily, This story was originally published in October 2008 as part of a series about how through exonerations, we know that witness identifications of suspects can be questionable. Fountain's case epitomized many of the shortcomings The News found. "If the witness said they saw it, they saw it.". Copyright © 2021 The Dallas Morning News. The exposure can make skin tones darker. Reports of shootings at Walmarts across the country are not uncommon, occurring, for example, in Philadelphia in August 2018; Amarillo, Texas in June 2016; Tumwater, Washington in June 2018; Denver, Colorado in November 2017; Clinton, Utah in June 2018, and others. Of the 19 Dallas County convictions overturned by DNA testing as of 2008, 18 were based on faulty witness identifications. He was also the first district attorney in memory with no ties to the prosecutor's office and has shown he is not afraid to re-examine its past. However, he said, he cannot stop trying cases even if they are based on little else but eyewitness testimony. "Who looks most similar to the suspect?" “I am just trying to get stable in my everyday life. said McCloskey, executive director of Centurion Ministries Inc. of Princeton, N.J. "These conversations go on, and they evolve until before you know it they have got themselves an ID. It’s important that if you know someone who could help your case, or if you are offering eye-witness testimony yourself, that you consult with a lawyer for how to proceed with your evidence. Richard A Wise, Clifford S. Fishman & Martin A. 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