New Colorado eyewitness ID bill passes in judiciary committee

We all can relate: after a chaotic or traumatic experience, memories can be etched in our mind of a particular detail, but other details can be omitted from memory or simply mis-remembered. Colorado is the 12th state to introduce legislation like this to prevent misidentifications. In my time as a Denver Criminal Defense Attorney, I have seen lineup cards with individuals who clearly stick out or do not belong. I have heard about police telling the victim they picked out an alleged suspect. These are elements the new bill seeks to do away with and this is a positive both for the prosecution and the defense. The only person who has an interest in a wrong identification is the perpetrator. Below is some more information on the bill and how it would affect police identifications:

• Development of easily understood instructions for eyewitnesses.

• Instructions to investigators regarding choice of photo array and live lineups.

• Protocols on documenting the confidence level of an eyewitness.

Proponents of the bill called for an end to lineups where one suspect bears no resemblance to others. The bill also calls for witnesses to be told by police that the criminal investigation will be ongoing, whether or not a suspect is initially identified.

Source: Denver Post

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