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Abstract

An eyewitness to a crime may make a series of identification decisions about the same suspect as evidence is gathered and presented at trial. These repeated decisions may involve show-ups, mugshots, photo arrays, lineups, and in-court identifications. Repeated identification procedures increase suspect identifications but do not increase the likelihood that the identified person is guilty. Eyewitness memory can be irreparably compromised, with significant risk incurred for an innocent suspect. The first identification procedure influences a witness’ subsequent decisions and confidence, in violation of the legal expectation that an identification reflects witness memory for the crime only. The research supports two recommendations. (1) Repeated identification procedures using the same suspect should be avoided. (2) Identifications made from repeated procedures—beyond the first identification procedure—should not be considered reliable eyewitness evidence. The first eyewitness identification attempt is the one that counts and must have been conducted with a fair and unbiased procedure.
Journal
of
Applied
Research
in
Memory
and
Cognition
5
(2016)
284–289
Contents
lists
available
at
ScienceDirect
Journal
of
Applied
Research
in
Memory
and
Cognition
j
o
ur
na
l
ho
me
page:
www.elsevier.com/locate/jarmac
Repeated
Eyewitness
Identification
Procedures
With
the
Same
Suspect
Nancy
K.
Steblay
Augsburg
College,
United
States
Jennifer
E.
Dysart
John
Jay
College
of
Criminal
Justice,
United
States
An
eyewitness
to
a
crime
may
make
a
series
of
identification
decisions
about
the
same
suspect
as
evidence
is
gathered
and
presented
at
trial.
These
repeated
decisions
may
involve
show-ups,
mugshots,
photo
arrays,
lineups,
and
in-court
identifications.
Repeated
identification
procedures
increase
suspect
identifications
but
do
not
increase
the
likelihood
that
the
identified
person
is
guilty.
Eyewitness
memory
can
be
irreparably
compromised,
with
significant
risk
incurred
for
an
innocent
suspect.
The
first
identification
procedure
influences
a
witness’
subsequent
decisions
and
confidence,
in
violation
of
the
legal
expectation
that
an
identification
reflects
witness
memory
for
the
crime
only.
The
research
supports
two
recommendations.
(1)
Repeated
identification
procedures
using
the
same
suspect
should
be
avoided.
(2)
Identifications
made
from
repeated
procedures—beyond
the
first
identification
procedure—should
not
be
considered
reliable
eyewitness
evidence.
The
first
eyewitness
identification
attempt
is
the
one
that
counts
and
must
have
been
conducted
with
a
fair
and
unbiased
procedure.
Keywords:
Eyewitness
memory,
Repeated
identifications,
Lineup,
Show-up,
Mugshot,
In-court
identification
An
eyewitness
to
a
crime
may
make
a
series
of
identification
decisions
about
the
same
suspect
as
an
investigation
proceeds
and
as
evidence
against
the
suspect
is
gathered
and
presented
at
trial.
Repeated
identification
procedures
may
involve
show-ups,
mugshots,
photo
arrays
and
lineups,
often
culminating
with
one
or
more
in-court
identifications
of
the
defendant.
Repeated
identification
procedures
are
allowed
and
some-
times
required
for
eyewitness
evidence
in
many
jurisdictions
in
the
United
States
and
elsewhere
(see
Behrman
&
Davey,
2001;
Steblay,
2011).
For
example,
in
England
and
Wales,
if
a
showup
identification
is
disputed,
a
subsequent
lineup
must
be
carried
out
(Valentine,
Davis,
Memon,
&
Roberts,
2012).
Law
enforce-
ment
sometimes
uses
a
second
identification
procedure
(e.g.,
a
lineup
that
follows
a
showup)
as
a
means
to
double-check
the
witness’s
memory
reliability,
an
opportunity
for
the
witness
to
confirm
or
retract
an
earlier
identification
decision.
And,
once
a
suspect
is
in
custody,
additional
photo
or
live
identification
evi-
dence
may
be
necessary
for
the
prosecution
to
present
at
trial.
Authors
Note
Nancy
K.
Steblay,
Department
of
Psychology,
Augsburg
College,
United
States;
Jennifer
E.
Dysart,
Department
of
Psychology,
John
Jay
College
of
Criminal
Justice,
United
States.
Please
note
that
this
paper
was
handled
by
the
current
editorial
team
of
JARMAC.
Correspondence
concerning
this
article
should
be
addressed
to
Nancy
K.
Ste-
blay,
Department
of
Psychology,
Augsburg
College,
Minneapolis,
MN
55454,
United
States.
Contact:
steblay@augsburg.edu
There
may
be
strong
intuitive
appeal
for
the
notion
that
a
wit-
ness
who
is
tentative
at
the
first
identification
attempt
can
render
a
more
accurate
decision
at
a
later
time;
that
a
physical
lineup
which
follows
a
static
photo
array
is
highly
informative;
that
an
updated
suspect
photo
may
offer
a
better
memory
test
than
an
older
photo
previously
presented
to
the
witness.
However,
DNA
exoneration
cases
demonstrate
that
wrong-
ful
conviction
may
be
a
consequence
of
a
jury’s
overreliance
on
confident
eyewitness
identification
testimony
incurred
from
repeated
procedures.
Garrett
(2011)
reports
that
most
eyewit-
nesses
of
161
reviewed
DNA
exoneration
cases
viewed
more
than
one
type
of
identification
procedure.
In
40%
of
these
cases,
the
witness
initially
identified
a
filler,
another
suspect,
or
no
one
at
all.
The
often-cited
wrongful
conviction
of
Ronald
Cotton
involved
a
photo
array
(from
which
Jennifer
Thompson
made
a
low-confidence
identification)
and
a
lineup
in
which
Cotton
was
the
only
repeated
member.
Exoneree
Larry
Fuller
was
identified
from
a
second
photo
array
after
the
victim
was
unable
to
pick
REPEATED
EYEWITNESS
IDENTIFICATIONS
285
his
(same)
photo
from
the
first
array.
John
Jerome
White
was
selected
from
a
photo
array
by
a
victim
who
was
“almost
posi-
tive.”
A
week
later,
White
was
placed
in
a
lineup
and
the
witness
was
then
positive
of
her
selection
of
White.
This
false
identifica-
tion
was
remarkable
in
that
the
police
had
unknowingly
placed
her
real
attacker
in
that
same
physical
lineup
(Wells,
2010).
This
sample
of
DNA
exoneration
cases
provides
evidence
that
repeated
identification
procedures
might
exacerbate
problems
associated
with
eyewitness
memory.
In
1998,
the
American
Psychology
Law
Society
issued
a
white
paper
on
recommended
eyewitness
identification
proce-
dures
(Wells
et
al.,
1998).
The
following
year,
the
National
Institute
of
Justice
issued
a
guide
for
law
enforcement
outlining
best
practices
for
the
collection
of
eyewitness
evidence
(1999).
Notably
absent
from
both
of
these
important
documents
was
any
discussion
of
repeated
identification
procedures
with
the
same
suspect.
Over
the
last
two
decades,
however,
recommendations
against
this
practice
have
surfaced
in
policy,
legal,
and
research
literatures.
The
model
policy
for
the
International
Association
of
Chiefs
of
Police
includes
a
guideline
to
“avoid
multiple
identifi-
cation
procedures
in
which
the
same
witness
views
the
same
suspect
more
than
once.”
(2010,
p.
2)
and
this
statement
is
echoed
in
some
state
policies1(e.g.,
Attorney
General
of
the
State
of
Wisconsin,
2010).
State
court
decisions
also
note
the
problems
in
repeated
identifications
(State
v.
Henderson,
2011a,
2011b;
State
v.
Lawson,
2012).
More
recently,
the
National
Research
Council
also
advised
consideration
of
prior
identifi-
cation
photo
arrays
and
lineups
during
pretrial
hearings
and
as
necessary
information
for
jurors
(2014).
Theoretical
Foundation
for
Repeated
Identification
Effects
Drawing
in
part
from
broader
memory
research,
the
eye-
witness
literature
describes
multiple
ways
in
which
a
witness’s
memory
for
a
criminal
can
be
redirected
onto
a
new
face
dur-
ing
repeated
identification
procedures.
That
is,
exposure
to
new
faces
(e.g.,
an
innocent
suspect)
at
the
first
identification
task
may
prompt
carry-over
effects
that
damage
the
fidelity
of
eyewit-
ness
evidence
at
the
next
identification
task.
There
are
multiple
possible
explanations
for
these
effects.
When
a
witness
fails
to
identify
a
suspect
at
a
first
attempt
(mugshot,
showup,
photo
array
or
lineup)
but
later
makes
a
positive
suspect
identification,
the
recognition
may
stem
from
exposure
at
the
first
identification
task
rather
than
from
the
crime
scene.
A
memory
failure
for
the
circumstances
of
the
previous
encounter
makes
the
face
seem
familiar
although
the
correct
context
for
that
memory
has
been
lost.
The
research
literatures
on
source
confusion
(Brown,
Deffenbacher,
&
Sturgill,
1977)
and
(unconscious)
transference
effects
provide
a
foundation
for
understanding
the
problems
of
repeated
identification
proce-
dures
(Loftus,
1976;
Read,
Tollestrup,
Hammersley,
McFadzen,
&
Christensen,
1990;
Ross,
Ceci,
Dunning,
&
Toglia,
1994).
1A
recent
survey
of
law
enforcement
eyewitness
identification
practices
con-
ducted
by
the
Police
Executive
Research
Forum
(2013)
made
no
mention
of
repeated
identification
procedures
with
the
exception
of
describing
Wisconsin’s
model
policy
described
herein.
Second,
consistent
selections
of
the
same
suspect
across
repeated
identification
procedures
may
indicate
reliable
witness
memory
for
the
guilty
culprit,
but
it
may
also
result
from
com-
mitment
to
a
false
recollection
of
an
identified
innocent
suspect
(Deffenbacher,
Bornstein,
&
Penrod,
2006).
Witness
motivation
to
be
consistent
or
to
help
the
investigation
may
also
play
a
role
in
successive
positive
identifications
(Goodsell,
Neuschatz,
&
Gronlund,
2009).
Finally,
repeated
identification
procedures
are
inherently
sug-
gestive,
in
that
a
witness
may
discern
which
person
is
common
to
both
procedures—the
police
suspect
(Wells
&
Quinlivan,
2009).
Empirical
Research
on
Repeated
Identification
Effects
Identification
procedures
studied
by
eyewitness
scientists
typically
assess
a
witness’s
first
identification
attempt.
Assum-
ing
an
unbiased
and
fair
procedure,
this
is
the
test
that
will
best
determine
whether
eyewitness
recognition
memory
supports
police
suspicions
about
the
identity
of
the
perpetrator.
Labo-
ratory
research
has
addressed
several
assumptions
that
appear
to
underlie
(legal)
evidentiary
rules
and
practices
regarding
repeated
identifications,
specifically
that:
(1)
a
second
identi-
fication
attempt
will
help
but
not
hurt
the
fidelity
of
eyewitness
memory
and
the
reliability
of
eyewitness
identification
evi-
dence;
and
(2)
that
repeated
procedures
are
mutually
exclusive,
i.e.,
the
first
identification
procedure
does
not
influence
a
wit-
ness’s
subsequent
decision
or
confidence
in
that
decision.
In
fact,
eyewitness
(and
memory)
science
strongly
contradicts
these
assumptions.
Repeated
procedures
are
not
mutually
exclu-
sive,
hence
violating
the
legal
expectation
that
the
identification
reflects
memory
for
the
crime
only,
and
the
fidelity
of
the
wit-
ness’s
memory
can
be
significantly
compromised
by
repeated
identification
procedures,
thereby
reducing
probative
value
of
the
memory
evidence.
In
support
of
these
findings
are
the
survey
results
of
Kassin,
Tubb,
Hosch,
and
Memon
(2001)
who
asked
eyewitness
experts
to
report
the
reliability
of
30
eyewitness
memory
principles.
Among
the
items
rated
was
the
following:
“Eyewitnesses
some-
times
identify
as
a
culprit
someone
they
have
seen
in
another
situation
or
context”
(p.
408).
Of
the
64
respondents,
81%
stated
that
this
proposition
was
reliable
enough
to
present
in
court.
The
proposition
that
“eyewitness
testimony
about
an
event
often
reflects
not
only
what
they
actually
saw
but
information
they
obtained
later
on”
(p.
408)
was
rated
as
reliable
enough
to
present
in
court
by
94%
of
experts.
A
strong
foundation
for
recom-
mendations
regarding
repeated
identifications
now
exists
in
the
eyewitness
literature,
which
we
summarize
below.
Mugshots
Prior
to
Photo
Array
or
Lineup
Twenty-five
years
of
published
research
on
the
effects
of
viewing
mugshots
is
documented
in
a
meta-analysis
of
32
tests
in
which
participant-eyewitnesses
were
exposed
to
mugshots
between
the
crime
and
a
subsequent
photo
array
or
lineup
and
compared
to
eyewitnesses
who
were
not
exposed
to
the
mugshots
(Deffenbacher
et
al.,
2006;
see
also
a
more
recent
test
by
Goodsell
et
al.,
2009).
The
number
of
mugshots
presented
REPEATED
EYEWITNESS
IDENTIFICATIONS
286
to
witnesses
has
varied
from
a
dozen
to
several
hundred
photographs.
The
findings
of
this
body
of
work
are
instructive.
When
the
guilty
culprit
is
present
in
both
the
mugshot
task
and
the
subsequent
photo
array
or
lineup,
this
extra
mugshot
expo-
sure
to
the
culprit’s
face
seemingly
may
help
the
witness
find
the
culprit
in
the
second
procedure.
This
mugshot
memory
boost
does
help
witnesses—slightly—to
correctly
select
the
culprit
among
photo
array
or
lineup
members.
However,
the
increase
in
witness
selection
of
the
suspect
is
due
to
the
influence
of
the
mugshot
rather
than
memory
for
the
crime
event.
Consider
eye-
witness
responses
to
an
innocent
suspect
who
appears
in
both
a
mugshot
task
and
a
photo
array
or
lineup.
The
mugshot
mem-
ory
boost
is
now
readily
apparent
as
memory
contamination;
witnesses
are
significantly
more
likely
to
choose
a
previously
viewed
innocent
suspect
when
that
innocent
suspect
appeared
in
both
the
mugshots
and
the
photo
array
or
lineup.
The
Kassin
et
al.
(2001)
survey
found
that
a
full
95%
of
respondents
endorsed
the
reliability
of
the
following
statement:
that
exposure
to
a
suspect’s
photograph
increased
the
likelihood
that
a
witness
would
choose
the
suspect
from
a
subsequent
photo
array
or
lineup.
Similarly,
Wise
and
Safer
(2004)
reported
that,
of
160
US
judges
surveyed,
78%
believed
the
mugshot-induced
bias
phenomenon
to
be
“generally
true.”
We
hasten
to
under-
score
that
the
increased
choosing
from
the
photo
array
or
lineup
reflects
contaminated
memory
evidence.
And,
that
the
witness’s
initial
selection
of
a
photo
from
a
mugshot
search
itself
poses
problems
of
suggestiveness
and
lack
of
reliability,
especially
in
consideration
of
the
unknown
base
rate
of
guilty
individuals
included
in
mugshot
searches
and
that
mugshot
searches
are
akin
to
all-suspect
identification
procedures
where
any
individual
selected
could
potentially
become
a
prime
suspect.
Show-Up
Prior
to
Photo
Array
or
Lineup
Repeated
identification
procedures
in
which
a
suspect
appears
first
in
a
show-up
(one-person
identification
procedure)
and
then
in
a
photo
array
or
lineup
can
increase
both
guilty
and
innocent
suspect
identifications
at
the
photo
array
or
lineup
(e.g.,
Godfrey
&
Clark,
2010;
Lawson
&
Dysart,
2014).
Similar
results
have
been
documented
in
the
United
Kingdom
when
witnesses
view
a
single
suspect
in
a
street
identification
followed
by
a
full
video-parade.
Both
guilty
and
innocent
suspects
first
identified
at
the
street
show-up
are
likely
to
be
identified
again
in
the
subse-
quent
photo
array
or
lineup,
across
delays
between
identification
procedures
that
extend
from
a
few
minutes
to
a
month
(Valentine
et
al.,
2012;
see
also
Haw,
Dickinson,
&
Meissner,
2007).
Photo
Array
Prior
to
Photo
Array
or
Lineup
Exposure
to
an
innocent
suspect
at
the
first
(culprit-absent)
photo
array
increases
the
likelihood
of
misidentifying
that
inno-
cent
suspect
and
decreases
correct
identifications
of
the
guilty
culprit
at
a
second
photo
array
or
lineup
procedure.
This
is
true
whether
or
not
the
innocent
suspect
is
actually
selected
at
the
first
procedure.
Poor
memory
encoding
and
retention
conditions
further
exacerbate
these
identification
errors
(Hinz
&
Pezdek,
2001;
Pezdek
&
Blandon-Gitlin,
2005).
When
eyewitnesses
see
repeated
same-suspect
photo
arrays
or
lineups,
typically
all
the
fillers
change
from
the
first
to
second
procedure.
Using
a
framework
of
repeated
same-suspect
proce-
dures
in
which
the
suspect
was
the
only
common
person
across
photo
arrays
(with
a
2-week
interval),
Steblay,
Tix,
and
Benson
(2013)
found
that
the
guilty-suspect
identification
rate
was
main-
tained
at
the
second
photo
array
(i.e.,
no
benefit
from
the
second
procedure).
However,
innocent-suspect
identifications
at
the
first
photo
array
were
also
carried
forward
to
the
second
procedure,
not
corrected,
and
the
overall
number
of
false
identifications
rose
from
first
to
second
array
(35%
to
52%).
Moreover,
witnesses
who
chose
the
guilty
suspect
and
those
who
chose
the
innocent
suspect
were
equally
confident
in
their
final
decisions.
Summary
Laboratory
research
has
traced
the
progression
of
witness
decisions
from
first
to
second
identification
attempts
across
a
variety
of
identification
procedures.
The
results
are
consistent
and
compelling.
Simply
put,
repeated
procedures
make
certain
that
the
suspect
is
identified
more
often,
but
do
not
increase
the
likelihood
that
the
identified
suspect
is
actually
guilty.
Identifi-
cation
errors
incurred
at
the
first
procedure
are
usually
sustained,
not
corrected,
at
the
next
procedure.
Memory
for
the
criminal
does
not
improve
across
identification
tasks.
And,
witness
con-
fidence
is
elevated
in
eyewitnesses
who
see
the
suspect
twice,
regardless
of
whether
the
suspect
is
guilty
or
innocent.
A
Recommendation
to
Avoid
Repeated
Identification
Procedures
With
the
Same
Suspect
Based
on
memory
and
eyewitness
science,
we
believe
that
the
eyewitness
field
is
poised
to
make
the
recommendations
that
repeated
identification
procedures
using
the
same
suspect
should
be
avoided,
and
that
identifications
made
from
repeated
procedures—beyond
the
first
identification
attempt—should
not
be
considered
reliable
eyewitness
evidence.
These
recommenda-
tions
are
intended
to
address
both
police
investigation
protocol
in
securing
eyewitness
evidence
and
courtroom
practices
for
evaluating
and
presenting
eyewitness
evidence
for
triers-of-fact.
Full
Documentation
Requirements
It
follows
from
these
two
core
recommendations
that
all
iden-
tification
tasks
that
expose
a
suspect
to
an
eyewitness
should
be
recorded
in
detail
by
law
enforcement,
including
all
decisions
and
comments
made
by
the
eyewitness
during
the
procedure(s).
A
record
of
the
first
identification
attempt
is
critical.
If
the
witness,
at
a
first
attempt,
rejects
the
police
suspect,
chooses
a
photo
array
or
lineup
filler
or
expresses
uncertainty
about
a
suspect
identification,
this
should
be
highly
informative
for
the
police
investigation
and
triers-of-fact
(Wells,
Yang,
&
Smalarz,
2015).
Furthermore,
without
detailed
information
about
the
ini-
tial
procedure,
later
identification
evidence
may
be
deceptive:
appearing
to
be
of
higher
quality
and
more
compelling
to
triers-
of-fact
than
the
reality
(Valentine
&
Fitzgerald,
2016).
Indeed,
a
witness’s
failure
to
identify
the
suspect
(e.g.,
a
photo
array
or
REPEATED
EYEWITNESS
IDENTIFICATIONS
287
lineup
rejection,
or
a
filler
pick)
at
any
point
during
repeated
procedures
is
critical
exculpatory
evidence.
Although
eyewitness
scientists
understand
well
the
impact
of
previous
identification
procedures
on
later
identification
out-
comes,
it
is
less
likely
that
judges,
attorneys,
and
jurors
will
appreciate
how
the
identification
evidence
accumulated
during
an
investigation
and
presented
at
trial
are
tainted
(contaminated)
by
repeated
procedures.
At
the
very
least,
all
decision-makers
should
be
made
aware
of
all
identification
attempts
made
by
all
witnesses.
The
NRC
has
explicitly
addressed
in-court
identifica-
tions
and
the
necessity
for
jurors
to
hear
about
all
identification
procedures
(or
lack
of
identification)
that
led
up
to
the
in-court
ID
(2014,
p.
76).
But,
there
is
much
work
to
be
done
regarding
legal
education,
expert
testimony,
and
changes
to
the
legal
framework.
The
Current
Legal
Framework
for
Evaluating
Repeated
Procedures
A
fundamental
premise
of
eyewitness
identification
evidence
presented
in
court
is
that
this
evidence
must
be
based
only
on
the
original
memory
of
the
crime.
Repeated
identification
procedures
violate
this
basic
legal
premise.
The
basis
for
an
identification
decision
at
a
second
(or
third,
etc.)
procedure
is
inherently
confounded,
as
there
is
no
means
to
untangle
the
exposure
to
the
prior
identification
task(s)
from
the
witness’s
original
memory
of
the
crime.
Despite
these
facts,
the
majority
of
states
employ
criminal
proceedings
in
which
the
trial
judge
is
required
to
perform
exactly
this
impossible
task:
to
discern
whether
a
suggestive
out-
of-court
procedure
(e.g.,
a
show-up)
might
have
impacted
the
results
for
a
subsequent
procedure
that
may
be
objectively
less
biased
(perhaps
a
double-blind
procedure
with
fair
fillers).
The
judge
is
also
asked
to
detect
whether
any
or
all
out-of-court
pro-
cedures
will
influence
an
in-court
identification
of
the
defendant
by
a
witness.
These
proceedings
are
based
on
the
“independent
source
doctrine”
that
requires
the
judge
to
determine
whether
the
witness
has
a
reliable
memory
for
the
perpetrator
inde-
pendent
of
the
suggestive
out-of-court
procedure(s)
(Garrett,
2012).
The
irony
of
this
(independent-source)
process
should
not
go
unmentioned:
highly
suggestive
procedures
have
been
shown
to
increase
witnesses’
confidence
in
their
decisions
and
belief
in
their
memory
for
the
perpetrator
(Wells
&
Quinlivan,
2009).
Thus,
the
more
suggestive
the
initial
identification
procedure,
the
more
likely
the
witness
will
appear
“nonetheless
reliable”
and
pass
the
independent-source
test.
The
likely
result—a
ruling
of
the
witness
having
an
independent
memory—allows
the
witness
to
make
an
in-court
identification
of
the
defendant
at
trial
and,
if
applicable,
might
permit
the
results
from
a
second
(not
the
first)
out-of-court
procedure.
Consider
specifically
the
case
of
a
witness
who
fails
to
identify
the
suspect
at
the
first
procedure
(i.e.,
rejects
the
photo
array
or
lineup,
or
chooses
a
filler)
and
then
is
asked
to
identify
that
same
suspect
at
a
subsequent
identification
procedure—or
at
trial.
The
first
identification
procedure
is
unlikely
to
be
subjected
to
the
independent-source
hearing
at
all
because
there
was
no
out-of-court
identification
of
the
suspect.
In
fact,
the
first
procedure
provides
exculpatory
evidence
for
the
suspect
and
has
confounded
the
results
of
the
later
identification.
Corrected
Protections
for
the
Innocent
Suspect?
There
can
be
no
correction
for
contaminated
memory,
even
with
a
subsequent
fair
photo
array
or
lineup.
Initial
identi-
fication
tasks
that
are
suggestive
in
structure
(a
show-up,
a
biased
photo
array
or
lineup)
or
in
procedure
(failure
to
use
a
double-blind),
or
that
expose
the
witness
to
influential
sources
of
post-identification
feedback
(Steblay,
Wells,
&
Douglass,
2014)
are
particularly
dangerous
for
an
innocent
suspect.
The
damage
is
done;
the
taint
will
carry
over
to
subsequent
identification
decisions.
Further
Implications
of
Repeated
Procedures
for
Criminal
Cases
This
research
informs
additional
problems
for
investigative
and
legal
procedures.
We
note
a
particular
problem:
in-court
identifications.
An
in-court
identification
is
inherently
sugges-
tive,
tantamount
to
a
high-pressure
show-up.
It
is
true
that
a
witness
could
identify
the
defendant
in
court
from
original
mem-
ory
of
the
crime,
but
it
is
also
likely
that
the
in-court
identification
is
the
result
of
an
error
of
familiarity
(source
confusion),
commit-
ment
to
a
prior
identification
decision,
and/or
simple
deduction
on
the
part
of
the
witness.
(Who
else
will
the
witness
point
to,
other
than
the
defendant?)
Hence,
an
attempt
by
an
eyewitness
to
identify
the
perpetrator
in
court
based
on
“memory
of
the
crime”
should
be
viewed
with
skepticism.
Garrett
(2012)
strongly
advises,
based
in
part
on
the
research,
that
“there
is
nothing
independent
about
the
courtroom
identifi-
cation.
Eyewitness
memory
is
not
‘independent’
of
prior
events
and
courts
do
not
have
‘independent’
access
to
the
memory
of
an
eyewitness.
If
the
prior
procedures
were
suggestive,
then,
at
min-
imum,
the
courtroom
identification
should
be
per
se
excluded”
(p.
497).
Although
this
recommendation
would
likely
receive
widespread
support
from
eyewitness
scientists,
we
believe
that
it
will
take
an
extended
period
of
time
before
courts
generally
are
in
agreement
with
banning
in-court
identifications.
Nevertheless,
there
are
some
jurisdictions
that
are
becoming
skeptical
of
their
ability
to
disentangle
the
effects
of
suggestion
and
bias
on
mem-
ory
reliability.
For
example,
the
Massachusetts
Supreme
Judicial
Court
Study
Group
on
Eyewitness
Evidence
(2013)
recently
rec-
ommended
that
both
out-of-court
and
in-court
identifications
be
suppressed
if
the
defendant
can
demonstrate
that
the
eyewitness
identification
is
unreliable.
A
related
serious
challenge
to
the
fairness
of
legal
evidence
is
the
phenomenon
of
eyewitnesses
who
make
a
photo
array
or
lineup
identification
decision
after
an
earlier
exposure
to
the
police
suspect
via
their
independent
search
of
Facebook
or
other
Internet
sites,
from
other
witnesses,
from
a
surveillance
video
(in
some
instances
supplied
by
police),
or
from
media
coverage
dur-
ing
the
investigation.
These
critical
first
exposures
are
notable
for
the
absence
of
standard
procedural
protections
for
the
sus-
pect.
From
the
perspective
of
memory
science,
such
exposure
taints
the
later
identification
procedure.
The
National
Research
Council
(2014)
echoes
this
concern:
“Eyewitness
identification
REPEATED
EYEWITNESS
IDENTIFICATIONS
288
is
further
complicated
by
the
increasing
number
of
situations
in
which
victims
and
witnesses
seek
to
identify
the
perpetrator
of
a
crime
without
the
aid
of
law
enforcement.
Such
identifica-
tions
raise
new
concerns
about
reliability
and
accuracy
of
the
identification
of
individuals”
(p.
20).
Solid
scientific
facts
bear
repeating:
The
first
eyewitness
identification
attempt
is
the
one
that
counts,
whether
the
wit-
ness
makes
a
positive
identification
or
not,
and
an
identification
must
have
been
conducted
with
an
unbiased
fair
procedure.
We
therefore
offer
our
two
recommendations
as
necessary
safe-
guards
for
reliable
eyewitness
identification
evidence.
First,
repeated
identification
procedures
using
the
same
suspect
should
be
avoided.
Second,
any
identification
made
from
repeated
procedures—beyond
the
first
identification
procedure—should
not
be
considered
reliable
eyewitness
evidence.
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REPEATED
EYEWITNESS
IDENTIFICATIONS
289
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L.,
Small,
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Received
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May
2016;
received
in
revised
form
27
June
2016;
accepted
29
June
2016
... That is, the fillers in the first (photo) lineup and the second (live) lineup were different people. Presenting an eyewitness with multiple lineups is not unusual in the DNA exoneration cases of mistaken identification as it is distressingly common in police practice (Steblay & Dysart, 2016). But the second (live) lineup in the White case had a bizarre fluke in it. ...
... Do participants report that they identified the same person again because they wanted to appear consistent (commitment processes; Foote, 1951;Kielser, Pallack, & Kanouse, 1968)? Past research suggests that choosing a person from an earlier lineup is associated with choosing the same person again later if that they appear in a subsequent lineup (Steblay & Dysart, 2016). ...
... There is already a wealth of research concerning the types of procedures that are most likely to achieve these outcomes (see Wells et al., 2020 for a recent summary of the research-based recommendations). In general, the best-practice recommendation is to have an eyewitness take part in a single identification procedure (Steblay & Dysart, 2016) that makes use of a fair lineup (Luus & Wells, 1991), accompanied by unbiased instructions informing them that the culprit may not be one of the people in the lineup (Clark, 2005). The lineup should be administered by a person who does not know who the investigators expect the eyewitness to pick from the lineup (double-blind administration; Kovera & Evelo, 2017), and the lineup should contain only one person that the police think committed the crime as a result of other investigative work (Wells & Turtle, 1986). ...
Thesis
Police routinely give eyewitnesses multiple opportunities to identify the same suspect, and numerous exoneration cases demonstrate that this practice can contribute to wrongful convictions. Empirical research addressing this practice shows it can lead to the repeated-suspect effect, which is a significant increase in suspect identifications after the same suspect has been presented in a previous showup or lineup (Steblay & Dysart, 2016). Procedures that tend to increase the chance of innocent suspect identifications are considered suggestive and produce unreliable eyewitness decisions. Thus, the use of multiple identification opportunities is considered suggestive and are discouraged by researchers (Wells et al., 2020). Despite this, eyewitness testimony obtained using suggestive procedures is frequently used at trial anyway because it is still admissible in court if other criteria are met indicating the identification was “nevertheless reliable” (Manson v. Brathwaite, 1977; Wells & Quinlivan, 2009). This dissertation builds on past research in this area by examining the effect of more the one intervening lineup and biased intervening lineups containing the same innocent suspect in two experiments, and how these different intervening lineup manipulations impact identification outcomes, confidence, and mechanism-related questions. Participants in both experiments watched a crime video, completed an intervening task phase, then evaluated a final, fair lineup. For Experiment 1, the intervening tasks were a fair lineup, a biased lineup, or a reading comprehension control task, and the final lineup contained either an innocent suspect, repeated from the intervening lineup, or the true culprit embedded among five fillers. For both studies, a repeated-suspect effect occurred such that a fair intervening lineup containing the innocent suspect resulted in more misidentifications of that same innocent suspect in the final lineup, consistent with past research. Furthermore, when participants received an intervening lineup that was biased towards the repeated innocent suspect, the repeated-suspect effect was more pronounced with significantly more innocent suspect picks from the final lineup when compared with participants who received a fair intervening lineup. Similarly, in Experiment 2, presenting participants with two intervening lineups exacerbated repeated-suspect effects relative to only one intervening lineup, particularly when one of those intervening lineups was biased. In Experiment 1, participants who received a final lineup containing the culprit were equally able to identify the culprit regardless of the intervening task condition, indicating that the memory for the true culprit was maintained despite exposure to misleading intervening lineups. Overall, these studies confirm that multiple identification attempts that each contain the same innocent suspect decreases the reliability of eyewitness decisions and increases the risk of misidentification for the innocent suspect. Moreover, these effects become stronger when the intervening lineups are biased or when more intervening lineups are introduced. Post- identification questions were also used to determine how the repetition manipulation and lineup bias manipulation might influence the relative contribution of two cognitive (dual-process recognition and source misattribution) and two social (commitment and demand characteristics) mechanisms for repeated-suspect effects. These self-report measures were used to speculate about how these processes are involved in creating repeated-suspect effects and to encourage future research addressing non-memory mechanisms in eyewitness identification research.
... For this reason, a sound lineup procedure is arguably a better circumstance and time for an accusation of the suspect than at other points in the criminal justice process. For example, research shows that an eyewitness's in-court identification of the defendant can be severely tainted by false confidence and distorted recall (Steblay & Dysart, 2016;Steblay et al., 2014;Wells et al., 2020). ...
... Brewer and Doyle's confidence procedure attempts to bring order to a confidence-accuracy relationship that is inherently noisy in part due to the fact that individual eyewitnesses may scale confidence differently. We note just briefly here our concern that Brewer and Doyle's proposal puts great faith in witness confidence-a measure known to be vulnerable to non-memory influences, such as lineup structural bias, that are often uncontrolled or unknown in the field (Quinlivan et al., 2012;Sauer et al., 2019;Steblay & Dysart, 2016;Steblay & Wells, 2020). We are not (yet) convinced that witness confidence ratings should be elevated among other considerations or that confidence can usefully stand in for an accusation. ...
... That is, like other forms of forensic evidence, memory can be contaminated. Critically, the best chance to test uncontaminated memory is the first test because the very act of testing memory can contaminate it (Steblay & Dysart, 2016). The importance of testing a witness's memory for a suspect only once is hard to overemphasize because the failure to abide by that simple rule might account for a large proportion of the wrongful convictions overturned by DNA evidence (Garrett, 2011). ...
Article
Full-text available
Eyewitness misidentifications are almost always made with high confidence in the courtroom. The courtroom is where eyewitnesses make their last identification of defendants suspected of (and charged with) committing a crime. But what did those same eyewitnesses do on the first identification test, conducted early in a police investigation? Despite testifying with high confidence in court, many eyewitnesses also testified that they had initially identified the suspect with low confidence or failed to identify the suspect at all. Presenting a lineup leaves the eyewitness with a memory trace of the faces in the lineup, including that of the suspect. As a result, the memory signal generated by the face of that suspect will be stronger on a later test involving the same witness, even if the suspect is innocent. In that sense, testing memory contaminates memory. These considerations underscore the importance of a newly proposed recommendation for conducting eyewitness identifications: Avoid repeated identification procedures with the same witness and suspect. This recommendation applies not only to additional tests conducted by police investigators but also to the final test conducted in the courtroom, in front of the judge and jury.
... Repeated lineups have been extensively studied and are generally considered unreliable. During the second lineup, people are often retroactively influenced by the first (Steblay and Dysart, 2016). This may be due to the occurrence of a "compromise effect," that is, a person tends to repeat their choices, to show consistency to themselves and others (Valentine et al., 2012;Lin et al., 2019). ...
Article
Full-text available
The COVID-19 pandemic has caused major disruptions in people’s lives around the globe. Sleep habits and emotional balance have been disturbed in a way that could be comparable to the havoc caused by a deep personal crisis or a traumatic experience. This unfortunate situation provides a unique context in which to study the impact of these imbalances on cognitive processes. In particular, the field of eyewitness science could benefit from these conditions, since they are also often present in crime victims, but can only be generated in the laboratory up to a certain ethical and practical limit. For several decades, eyewitness studies have tried to discover what variables affect people’s ability to properly recognize faces. However, the disparity of experimental designs and the limitations of laboratory work could be contributing to the lack of consensus around several factors, such as sleep, anxiety, and depression. Therefore, the possibility of observing the influence of these agents in natural contexts could shed light on this discussion. Here, we perform simple and repeated lineups with witnesses of mock-crime, considering the conditions related to the COVID-19 pandemic, which to some extent allow emulating the deterioration in general well-being that often afflicts crime victims. For this, 72 participants completed symptomatology scales, and watched a video portraying a staged violent episode. Subsequently, they gave testimony and participated in two lineups, in which we manipulated the presence/absence of the perpetrator, to recreate critical scenarios for the appearance of false recognitions. We found an increase in recognition errors in those individuals who did not have access to the perpetrator during the Initial lineup. Additionally, the conditions of the pandemic appear to have adversely affected the ability to witness and accurately perform lineups. These results reaffirm the need to move toward the standardization of research practices and methods for assessing testimonial evidence, especially in relation to the results of the lineups. Considering the degree of fallibility of these processes can lead to a reduction of wrongful convictions.
... For example, prior exposure to a suspect (e.g., in a previous identification procedure) has been theorized to increase the perceived familiarity of the suspect (e.g., Godfrey & Clark, 2010;Loftus, 1976;Memon et al., 2002). To the extent that witnesses misattribute the familiarity to the crime event as opposed to the prior exposure (i.e., Johnson et al., 1993), they may be more likely to later identify that individual (see review by Steblay & Dysart, 2016). Another perceptual suspect-bias variable that operates through its effects on perceptual familiarity is coincidental resemblance (or non-coincidental but unusual resemblance) between a suspect and the witness's memory of the culprit (see Wixted & Wells, 2017). ...
... Perhaps the most common repeated identification procedure of all is when the witness makes an out-of-court identification (from a showup or a lineup) and then is asked to repeat that identification in court (i.e., an in-court or "dock" identification) at pretrial hearings or at trial or at both the pretrial hearing and at trial. At a theoretical level, there are at least three processes by which an initial identification test that includes a given suspect can contaminate a later identification test if the later test includes that same suspect (Deffenbacher, Bornstein, & Penrod, 2006;Steblay & Dysart, 2016). One such process is memory-source error (or "source monitoring error"; see Johnson, Hashtroudi, & Lindsay, 1993). ...
Article
Full-text available
Objective: The Executive Committee of the American Psychology-Law Society (Division 41 of the American Psychological Association) appointed a subcommittee to update the influential 1998 scientific review paper on guidelines for eyewitness identification procedures. Method: This was a collaborative effort by six senior eyewitness researchers, who all participated in the writing process. Feedback from members of AP-LS and the legal communities was solicited over an 18-month period. Results: The results yielded nine recommendations for planning, designing, and conducting eyewitness identification procedures. Four of the recommendations were from the 1998 article and concerned the selection of lineup fillers, prelineup instructions to witnesses, the use of double-blind procedures, and collection of a confidence statement. The additional five recommendations concern the need for law enforcement to conduct a prelineup interview of the witness, the need for evidence-based suspicion before conducting an identification procedure, video-recording of the entire procedure, avoiding repeated identification attempts with the same witness and same suspect, and avoiding the use of showups when possible and improving how showups are conducted when they are necessary. Conclusions: The reliability and integrity of eyewitness identification evidence is highly dependent on the procedures used by law enforcement for collecting and preserving the eyewitness evidence. These nine recommendations can advance the reliability and integrity of the evidence. Public Significance Statement Mistaken eyewitness identification is a primary contributor to criminal convictions of the innocent. Pristine procedures for collecting and documenting eyewitness identification evidence can help prevent these mistakes. This scientific review paper makes nine system variable recommendations concerning eyewitness identification procedures that should be implemented by crime investigators in eyewitness identification cases.
Article
It is well-established that stimulus-specific information in visual working memory (VWM) can be systematically biased by new perceptual inputs. These memory biases are commonly attributed to interference that arises when perceptual inputs are physically similar to VWM contents. However, recent work has suggested that explicitly comparing the similarity between VWM contents and new perceptual inputs modulates the size of memory biases above and beyond stimulus-driven effects. Here, we sought to directly investigate this modulation hypothesis by comparing the size of memory biases following explicit comparisons to those induced when new perceptual inputs are ignored (Experiment 1) or maintained in VWM alongside target information (Experiment 2). We found that VWM reports showed larger attraction biases following explicit perceptual comparisons than when new perceptual inputs were ignored or maintained in VWM. An analysis of participants’ perceptual comparisons revealed that memory biases were amplified after perceptual inputs were endorsed as similar—but not dissimilar—to one’s VWM representation. These patterns were found to persist even after accounting for variability in the physical similarity between the target and perceptual stimuli across trials, as well as the baseline memory precision between the distinct task demands. Together, these findings illustrate a causal role of perceptual comparisons in modulating naturally-occurring memory biases.
Article
Eyewitness identification is fallible, and suggestive post-event information is known to facilitate error; however, whether social media valence affects identification decisions is unknown. After viewing crime videos of various race perpetrators, participants saw post-event Twitter photos of the perpetrator or a foil that varied in valence. Participants attempted identification from a lineup including both individuals and rated the confidence and source (i.e., video, Twitter) of their selection. Results showed that Twitter photos of the perpetrator increased the likelihood of accurate identification and related confidence, whereas seeing the foil reduced the likelihood of a correct identification and related confidence. Remembering the perpetrator from the crime influenced correct identification, while remembering other incorrect sources (e.g., Twitter) only lead to misidentification. Twitter valence and perpetrator race did not impact outcomes. Results suggest that difficulty in identifying a perpetrator is underpinned by source monitoring confusion which is exacerbated by viewing social media that includes innocent suspects.
Chapter
Legal safeguards, along with evidentiary rules and procedures, are intended to ensure a fair trial for criminal defendants and to avoid the conviction of the innocent. In this chapter, we focus on admissibility safeguards and two educational corrective safeguards—judicial instructions and expert testimony—that provide decision-makers with information about the reliability of eyewitness identification evidence. We briefly provide background information about wrongful convictions and the science of eyewitness evidence to give the relevant context before presenting a cross-national comparison of admissibility safeguards and educational corrective safeguards in Australia, Canada, and the USA. We also review the empirical studies that have tested the effectiveness of judicial instructions and expert testimony in cases with eyewitness identification evidence. Based on this interdisciplinary analysis, we conclude that courts are too permissive in admitting eyewitness evidence and are generally too reliant on educational corrective safeguards, despite the large body of empirical work demonstrating their limited effectiveness. Finally, we analyze the strengths and weaknesses of the two educational corrective safeguards and outline directions for future empirical research.
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Full-text available
Presenting a blank lineup—containing only fillers—to witnesses prior to showing a real lineup might be useful for screening out those who pick from the blank lineup as unreliable witnesses. We show that the effectiveness of this procedure varies depending on instructions given to witnesses. Participants (N = 462) viewed a simulated crime and attempted to identify the perpetrator from a lineup approximately one week later. Rejecting a blank lineup was associated with greater identification accuracy and greater diagnosticity of suspect identifications, but only when witnesses were instructed prior to the blank lineup that they would view a series of lineups; the procedure was ineffective for screening when witnesses were advised they would view two lineups or received no instruction. These results highlight the importance of instructions used in the blank lineup procedure, and the need for better understanding of how to interpret choosing patterns in this paradigm. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
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Three experiments examined the possibility that eyewitness identifications may be biased because persons may be much better able to recognize a face than to recall where they saw it. In Experiment 1, 14 college-student subjects were asked both to recognize 50 facial photographs seen 2 days before and to recall in which of two distinctive rooms they had been seen. Strong recognition and minimal recall were found. Experiments 2 (64 college-student subjects) and 3 (146 college-student subjects) modeled more closely the usual criminal identification situation with mugshot and lineup sessions occurring after the initial encounter with the suspects. Subjects in Experiment 2 were aware they would need to remember the subjects' faces; in Experiment 3, they were not aware of this need. Both experiments provided evidence of considerable confusion in mugshot and lineup identifications as well as a lack of correlation between eyewitness accuracy and confidence. In addition, there were strong mugshot-induced biases in Experiment 3 that could have a bearing on questions of legal procedure and the admissibility of evidence.
Article
Full-text available
The recent National Research Council report on eyewitness identification evidence includes fifteen recommendations intended to improve the procedures used to obtain eyewitness identification evidence, strengthen its value in court, and improve the scientific basis of research. The report includes some important insights on the applied research and makes some novels proposals, which are critically reviewed. It is argued that the report is limited by a lack of international comparison and by its focus exclusively on lineups rather than a wider range of methods available to identify perpetrators from their face.
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Full-text available
In light of recent advances, this study updated a prior survey of eyewitness experts (S. M. Kassin, P. C. Ellsworth, & V. L. Smith, 1989). Sixty-four psychologists were asked about their courtroom experiences and opinions on 30 eyewitness phenomena. By an agreement rate of at least 80%, there was a strong consensus that the following phenomena are sufficiently reliable to present in court: the wording of questions, lineup instructions, confidence malleability, mug-shot-induced bias, postevent information, child witness suggestibility, attitudes and expectations, hypnotic suggestibility, alcoholic intoxication, the cross-race bias, weapon focus, the accuracy–confidence correlation, the forgetting curve, exposure time, presentation format, and unconscious transference. Results also indicate that these experts set high standards before agreeing to testify. Despite limitations, these results should help to shape expert testimony so that it more accurately represents opinions in the scientific community.