First, more than 2,000
into the mechanics and psychology of eyewitness identifications, all published since the court’s 1977 decision, have found a wide range of variables that produce inaccurate eyewitness identifications. They include the presence of a weapon, consumption of alcohol or drugs, how long a witness watched what was happening, how long after a crime an identification is made and the race and age of an alleged perpetrator. They go well beyond suggestive conditions set up by police.
Second, despite the often-shaky reliability of eyewitness identifications and the opportunity of defense lawyers to expose flaws through cross-examination in court, juries place disproportionate faith in the IDs anyway.
Watch a video
about eyewitness misidentification.