Eyewitness Identification

As of May 1, 2013, all police departments in the state of Connecticut will be mandated to implement new eyewitness identification procedures that are designed to prevent mis-identification and subsequently wrongful convictions.

In response to the Innocence Project and other advocate groups, Connecticut has implemented real change in the way the police conduct eyewitness identification. Eyewitnesses identification has been under fire for years due to the number of exoneration’s made by the advancement of DNA technology.

The simultaneous identification procedure, where the victim / witness sees everyone at once has been totally scrapped. Police in Connecticut will use the Sequential Photo and Live Lineup procedure where the victim / witness sees one photo / person at a time. Connecticut didn’t stop there. They also instituted the Double Blind Procedure which means that the officer conducting the identification does not know which person in the photo / live lineup is the alleged suspect. This is meant to prevent the police from tipping off a victim / witness who the suspect really is.

In addition, the officer conducting the eyewitness identification must obtain two signed statements from the victim / witness. The first, “Witness Instructions – Identification Procedures” which outlines the process and rules of the identification and a “Confidence Statement” in their own words on how certain they are of the identification – if made.

Police departments often resist change, especially ones that may make their job more difficult. Stricter rules on how eyewitness identification works will effect some cases, but will improve prosecutable cases too. No detective wants to send an innocent person to prison and these changes will take a giant step towards reducing those chances.

If you want to read the entire procedure check out the links below.

Click here to download the State of Connecticut “Eye Witness Instructions”
Click here to download State of Connecticut “Eye Witness Mandatory Policy”