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Univ. of San Diego School of Law

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Monday, April 23, 2007

More States Consider Line Up Reforms

From law.com: A continuing wave of exonerations and revelations about wrongful convictions linked to false eyewitness identification has led more states to consider reforming their lineup procedures with new guidelines and legislation.

A key factor is the order in which lineups should be shown as more states consider whether to replace the traditional simultaneous method with the sequential procedure, during which people or photographs are shown one after another rather than all at once.

Another common feature of the new procedures calls for a "blind" lineup, meaning the person administering it does not know who the suspect is. A movement to reform eyewitness identification procedures has been building in momentum for the last few years.

A reform bill in West Virginia has been awaiting the governor's approval and was one of 16 bills on eyewitness identification proposed in 10 states this legislative session, said Scott Ehlers, state legislative affairs director for the Washington-based National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers.

In Illinois, a civil lawsuit over the issue was filed in February. And in New Mexico, an eyewitness identification bill was proposed for the first time this year.

"Bills seem to have been going further this year than in the past," Ehlers said. "Exonerations and the wrongful convictions: I think that is really pushing the issue." Rest of Article. . . [Mark Godsey]

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