Mistaken identification is common

Mistaken identification produces more wrongful convictions than any other cause. Many researchers have published articles that can be helpful in the right case. Whether yours is the right case depends on a number of factors, principally, the extent to which the prosecution’s case relies on a stranger who identified you as the perpetrator of a crime. See, e.g., www.psychology.iastate.edu/faculty/gwells (website of Professor Gary Wells); faculty.washington.edu/eloftus (website of Professor Elizabeth Loftus).

A witness’s misidentification is rarely reviewable on appeal. Commentators and defense lawyers have been hammering on this issue for nearly a century. Recently the legal system has shown openness to effective remedies to misidentification. While there is no sign yet of a greater willingness to suppress identifications reaped from suggestive procedures, law enforcement has become more receptive to using fairer identification procedures, and courts appear more willing to allow defense input into pre-trial identification procedures and to permit expert testimony on the weaknesses of identification testimony.