Florida police groups adopt standards for eyewitness ID
Palm Beach Post Staff Writer
Posted: 10:48 p.m. Monday, July 11, 2011

It remains far and away the leading cause of wrongful convictions: eyewitness identification. And Monday, Florida law enforcement officials tuned up how police are to handle eyewitnesses, specifying safeguards for officers to lift eyewitness memory as carefully as they would a fingerprint.

Statewide law enforcement organizations such as the Florida Sheriffs Association joined prosecutors and adopted “tight new standards designed to ensure neutrality, impartiality and consistency,” a Florida Department of Law Enforcement spokeswoman wrote in a release.

A Palm Beach Post investigation published in January revealed a hodgepodge of practices locally — the majority of police agencies with no eyewitness policy at all. This was despite the fact that the U.S. Department of Justice recommended reform a dozen years ago, after the first wave of misidentified men were exonerated by DNA evidence.
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