Jun 1, 2015 6:30 PM
Landrigan: NH, local chiefs endorse new policy on eyewitness IDs
CONCORD - Attorney General Joseph Foster’s office along with police chiefs and the national Innocence Project announce new guidelines to prevent wrongful identification of suspected offenders.
Deputy Attorney General Ann Rice said the model policy is not mandatory but are those that the federal Justice Department and US Academy of Sciences have also embraced.
"These are the best practices," Rice said.
Nationwide, studies have shown 72 percent of those found to have been wrongfully convicted were due to an incorrect identification usually through the use of an array of pictures or a police lineup said Amshula Jayaram, state policy advocate for the Innocence Project.
Fourteen states have adopted these as their own including Vermont, Connecticut and Rhode Island, she said.
"There are sort of infinite ways this could go wrong unless you standardize your procedure," Jayaram said.
Norwood, Massachusetts, Police Chief Bill Brooks, a national expert on the topic, gave police chiefs five hours of training at a statewide conference last winter.
Ways to prevent bad identifications including having an officer conduct the lineup who doesn’t know who the suspect is or making sure the suspect doesn’t have identifying marks or features that render him or her very different than others the eyewitness is looking at.
"This is really the gold standard you will be using," Brooks said.