Monday, October 6, 2014

National Academy of Sciences lineups report: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette story says the long-anticipated report leaves a key question unanswered: How to conduct a photo lineup. Pittsburgh Post-Gazete;

STORY: "National report on witness identification does little to settle Pittsburgh dispute on best procedures," by reporter Paula Reed Ward, published by the   Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on October 4, 2014.  (The National Academy of Sciences is a non-profit organization of experts and academics around the U.S. HL);

GIST:  "A highly anticipated report released Thursday on witness identifications from the National Research Council (National Academy of Sciences; HL)  failed to settle the question of how best to conduct a photographic lineup. Social scientists and law enforcement officers across the country — and in Pittsburgh — are split whether such lineups should be conducted simultaneously, with all suspect pictures on the same page, or sequentially, with each image shown one at a time. In Allegheny County, the Chiefs of Police Association earlier this year adopted new best practices for law enforcement declaring sequential lineups as the way to proceed, but the Pittsburgh police did not switch, even after District Attorney Stephen A. Zappala Jr. sent a letter demanding it. New public safety director Stephen A. Bucar refused, saying that the sequential process had not been proven to be superior. Instead, he said he would await the results of the National Academy of Science report. He’ll have to keep waiting. “Identifying the Culprit,” the 120-page report released Thursday, reached no conclusion on which process is better, instead suggesting that more research is needed. It recommends establishing a national initiative to determine best practices for conducting lineups and photo arrays, as well as assessing witness confidence levels.".........Among the report’s recommendations that Allegheny County’s chiefs have signed off on: using double-blind processes to prevent cues and biases from creeping in to identification procedures and setting confidence levels on the ID. It also suggests best practices for law enforcement, including training all officers in witness identification, and identification procedures; developing standardized witness instructions and video recording the identification process. For courts, the report recommends that a judge conduct a pre-trial inquiry on the identification procedures used and make juries aware of prior identifications by the witness."

The entire story can be found at:


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