This article discusses varying eyewitness identification reform proposals that may help to finally achieve a greater level of reliability in this critical phase of the criminal justice process. The author concludes a comprehensive reform that includes tightening exclusionary rules, along with (minimally) corroboration requirements for death-sentencing, and more appropriately, for convictions in capital and non-capital cases, with a concomitant loosening of standards for relief on appeal, hold the most promise.
The article addresses adopting best practices; assuring compliance by means of exclusion; admitting expert testimony and educating juries; instructing on the vagaries of eyewitness identification; requiring corroboration with independent and reliable evidence; and redressing unsafe verdicts. A 2002 article advocated a return to the Stovall v. Denno two-stage exclusionary rule, at least in capital cases, and beyond that, proposed a bar on execution if a suggestive identification procedure occurred. This article returns to that view, and addresses additional proposals, including those that would modify the analysis required for exclusion consistent with social science findings; require corroboration in eyewitness identification and general cases; require reliable forensic or other evidence for capital sentencing; and repeal the death penalty to assure against irrevocable errors.
Creighton Law Review
Margery Koosed, Reforming Eyewitness Identification Law and Practices to Promote the Innocent, 42 Creighton Law Review 595 (2009).