Making a Case for Reform: Evaluation of the Current Eyewitness Identification Procedures in the State of Missouri
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Eyewitness misidentification is a problematic issue in the Criminal Justice and the cause of many wrongful convictions. The early writings of psychologists like Hugo Münsterberg have warned about dangers of eyewitnesses. Furthermore, research has demonstrated that certain procedures illicit misidentification. Recently, reform efforts on eyewitness identification procedures have gained momentum and in several states have implemented reforms. Unfortunately, Missouri is not one of the States instituting these reforms. This study examined seven case studies of wrongful conviction cases in Missouri that eyewitness misidentification was the leading or contributing factor in their convictions. The best practices according to the Department of Justice (DOJ) and American Psychological Law Society (APLS) were utilized to develop seven benchmarks that were used to evaluate the identification procedures. The study found that in all seven cases, none of the identification procedures utilized all seven benchmarks.