The West Virginia Senate heard testimony on Wednesday on a bill that would improve eyewitness identifications and strengthen the state’s criminal justice system. After deliberations, the bill was advanced by the Judiciary Committee.
The bill would give law enforcement statewide a uniform policy regarding eyewitnesses. It also requires witnesses be told that the suspect may not be in a lineup, that they don't have to make an identification and that "it is as important to exclude innocent persons as it is to identify the perpetrator.''
"It affects the victims as well. They have not put away the perpetrator of the crime,'' Sen. Jon Hunter, D-Monongalia and a co-sponsor, said of bad identifications. "What this really does is help law enforcement in the long run.''
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. (Charleston Daily Mail, 02/23/07, LexisNexis subscription required)