Improve Eyewitness Identification Techniques and Procedures

Experts agree that the accuracy of eyewitness identifications could be greatly improved if several policy reforms were adopted in all jurisdictions, including the videotaping of all lineups, photo spreads, and other identification processes so that later any biases, suggestions, or hints that infected the process could be exposed and evaluated. In addition, convictions for murder based on the testimony of a single eyewitness or accomplice, without any other corroboration, should never be eligible for the death penalty.

Punish Police Misconduct

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Depending on the seriousness of the misconduct, offending police officers should be reprimanded, suspended without pay, decertified (if applicable), or terminated. Particularly serious misconduct by police officers should be prosecuted in the federal courts.

Improve the Work and Credibility of Crime Lab Technicians

To promote greater credibility in the work of crime lab technicians, such labs and their budgets should be independent and not under the supervision of a police department or prosecutor’s office, as is typically the case. Crime labs should also be accredited by professional organizations and subject to regulatory oversight and external blind proficiency testing (in which samples are sent in as ordinary evidence to corroborate the validity of results). Agent technicians who make mistakes should be disciplined.

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