Eyewitness misidentification is the leading cause of wrongful convictions later overturned by DNA testing, and “show-up” identifications are among the most unreliable identification procedures still used by police. In a show-up, police officers bring the suspect and eyewitness within a sight of one another and ask the witness whether the suspect was indeed the perpetrator. Show-ups have been involved in countless wrongful convictions, including three of the 20 overturned by DNA testing in Dallas County to date.
Texas State Sen. Rodney Ellis, who serves as the Innocence Project Board Chairman, said he plans to propose a ban on show-up procedures in Texas to prevent future wrongful convictions.
“I think because of the outrageous number of wrongful convictions in Texas, it’s time to begin the dialog [to ban showups],” Mr. Ellis said. “Whether or not I can get legislators to a point at which they would mandate it would not be used is a separate issue.”
Ellis also supports the creation of a Texas innocence commission to study the causes of wrongful convictions.
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. (Dallas Morning News, 10/14/08)