After Jennifer Thompson-Cannino was raped in 1984, she identified a man in a police lineup as her attacker. The officer conducting the lineup told her she had done a “good job,” confirming that she’d picked the suspect. Eleven years later, DNA evidence proved that suspect, Ronald Cotton, had been wrongfully convicted of the rape.
Before a rapt audience Monday at a legislative study committee hearing, Cannino recounted the horror of her sexual assault on June 29, 1984, and her horror when learning 11 years later she had misidentified her attacker and helped send the wrong man to prison. The real attacker, later identified by DNA evidence, had gone on to rape six more women after he attacked Cannino.
"It's a human system," Cannino said. "We are fallible. We make mistakes. There are practices that can be put into place."
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. (Atlanta Journal Constitution, 10/23/07)
Innocence Project Co-Director Barry Scheck and Iowa State Psychology Professor Gary Wells also testified before the group Monday, describing lineup procedures proven to increase the accuracy of eyewitness identifications.
Download the study committee’s full schedule here