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Eye Witness Identification Law

Eye Witness Identification Bill

For years criminal defense attorneys, and the innocence project have been advocating that photo lineups should be administered by someone who does not know who the suspect is. This is because by knowing who the suspect is law enforcement officers might suggest which person is the suspect, even if it is not intentional. On June 14, 2017 Governor Rick Scott signed a bill into law that would mandate that photo lineups be administered by someone who did not know who the suspect was. According to the innocence project misidentification is the leading cause of wrongful convictions, as they claim about 60% of the exonerated defendant’s were convicted as a result of misidentification. However a lot of people were exonerated through DNA, which is generally used to prove or disprove identity. The legislature has also acknowledge that this is only one factor used to prevent misidentification. Other factors may include reading a standard instruction, which usually instructs the witness that the suspect may or may not be in this lineup. In my experience as a criminal defense attorney I have seen the wrong person picked out of a lineup numerous times.