Friday, October 12, 2007

NIJ Acknowledges "Marred" Results of Illinois Pilot Project

The NIJ Journal put out an article this week called "Police Lineups: Making Eyewitness Identification More Reliable," acknowledging the unreliability of eyewitness memory and the role the police procedures play in making it more or less reliable. The article gives some detail on the simultaneous vs. sequential debate, including Nancy Steblay's continuing great work testing the efficacy of double-blind sequential lineups in the field.

Significantly, the NIJ acknowledges that the Illinois pilot project (the infamous "Mecklenburg Report") was fatally flawed. ("The stunning implications of the Illinois Pilot Program have since been marred ... by questions about the methodology used.") Presumably, then, the NIJ will no longer include the results of that junk study in future serious discussions on lineup reform, such as the project being developed for Dallas County. Taxpayers, not to mention the wrongfully accused, can't afford another colossal waste of public resources on an agenda-driven charade like we saw in Illinois.

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