The Top Reason Innocent People Land in Jail? False IDs

Human Rights

An Innocence Project report released [last week] examines eyewitness misidentifications, the leading cause of wrongful convictions overturned by DNA testing, and recommends simple reforms states and local jurisdictions can take to address the problem.


Titled “Reevaluating Lineups: Why Witnesses Make Mistakes and How to Reduce the Chance of a Misidentification,” the report lays out the problems with traditional eyewitness identifications procedures and lists six simple reforms to reduce misidentifications.

As shown in the graph below, eyewitness misidentification was a factor in 75% of wrongful convictions overturned by DNA testing.


Nine states have taken action to prevent eyewitness misidentifications, and 17 more states have considered legislation on the issue in the last two years. The Innocence Project announced that it will focus on implementing reforms over the next year in 10 states, including New York, Texas, Kentucky, New Mexico, Ohio, Michigan and Rhode Island.

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