Mistaken identifications the top cause of wrongful conviction

On Behalf of Longman Jakuback

When someone identifies you as the offender in a lineup, that witness’s recollections may carry a lot of weight. Many judges and juries consider an eyewitness’s testimony to be highly convincing. Yet, research shows that eyewitness accounts are much less accurate than many think. Studies also show that mistaken eyewitness identifications have become the primary cause of wrongful convictions in America.

According to the Innocence Project, inaccurate eyewitness identifications are highly problematic for two main reasons. First, they put the wrong people behind bars. Second, they distract and delay law enforcement from finding the true perpetrator of a particular offense.

How often mistaken identifications lead to wrongful convictions

Historically, DNA evidence has led to the overturning of more than 375 wrongful convictions in the United States. Mistaken eyewitness identifications had a hand in putting 69% of those individuals wrongfully convicted behind bars.

Why mistaken identifications occur

Mistaken identifications occur for many reasons. Sometimes, a witness’s memories become hazy over time, raising questions about their validity. Other times, the individual administering law enforcement lineups may ask an eyewitness leading questions or provide unintentional clues about a lineup participant’s identity.

How to improve accuracy

A growing body of evidence is showing that eyewitness identifications are often inaccurate. As a result, some law enforcement agencies are adopting new procedures aimed at improving accuracy in lineups. Some agencies make a point to assess a witness’s confidence level when he or she identifies a particular individual. Some agencies also conduct “double-blind lineups,” where neither the administrator nor the witness knows a suspect’s identity.

Louisiana is among a growing number of states committing to working toward improving the accuracy of law enforcement lineups that take place within state lines.

Recent Post



A Consultation

Fields Marked With An “*” Are Required

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.
Don’t Wait. Contact Our Louisiana
Attorneys Today.

Call- 225-383-3644