News 07.02.08

Judge: Chicago police can keep study data secret

An Illinois judge ruled this week that the Chicago Police Department doesn’t have to share all of the raw data from its controversial and discredited 2006 report on eyewitness identification procedures. The National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers filed a lawsuit last year seeking access to the data used in the report, which has been soundly discredited by leading social scientists for its lack of scientific methods. The judge ruled that the police must share closed case data, but could keep information on active cases a secret.

Access to data from closed cases alone isn't sufficient, argued Locke Bowman of the MacArthur Justice Center at Northwestern University School of Law in Chicago, which filed the lawsuit on behalf of NACDL.

A healthy public debate requires full disclosure, he said.

"If the data supports the report's findings that traditional lineups work better than reform methods, the Chicago Police have nothing to hide," he said after the ruling. "But if the data doesn't support those findings, it's time for the Chicago Police Department and departments around the state to change the way they handle eyewitness identifications."


Read the full story here

. (Chicago Tribune, 06/30/08)

And a post on the Eyewitness Identification Reform blog points to an interesting

first-hand account of Chicago’s lineup procedures

posted in the comments section of the Chicago Tribune website.

Three decades of solid social science research has pointed to sequential lineups as a critical reform to reduce misidentifications. The Innocence Project and other leaders in the field have called for additional field study – using solid scientific techniques — of the reform. A blue-ribbon panel of social scientists convened to review the difference in data between various studies of eyewitness education procedures, found that the Chicago report’s "design guaranteed that most outcomes would be difficult or impossible to interpret. The only way to sort this out is by conducting further studies."

Read more here

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