In January, the Dallas Police Department will launch a pilot program to study its eyewitness identification procedures, comparing the accuracy of traditional methods with techniques shown by several previous studies to reduce misidentifications. An editorial in yesterday’s Dallas Morning News praises the city’s police department for taking part in this pilot program, and calls on jurisdictions throughout Texas to adopt practices shown to prevent wrongful convictions. A good next step, the newspaper writes, will be the creation of a Texas Innocence Commission, which was proposed this year in the state’s legislature but did not pass.
Dallas may well prove to have the most up-to-date photo lineup methods available, but there’s no vehicle to evenly apply the lessons across the state. And there’s no doubt about failures in other counties, as the Innocence Project has tallied 29 exonerations statewide.
State leaders should be weary of hearing apologies to innocent men who have spent years in prison.
They must do everything possible to break this disgraceful pattern.
Read the full editorial
. (Dallas Morning News, 09/30/07)
Read more about
eyewitness identification reforms underway nationwide
, and learn more about the
six states with active Innocence Commissions