In the aftermath of the wrongful rape conviction of Joe Jones and the mounting evidence that eyewitness misidentification is a widespread cause of wrongful conviction, the Topeka Police Department has instituted new policies for eyewitness identification. “Eyewitness identification has for a long time been questionable,” Topeka Police Chief Ronald Miller told the Lawrence Journal-World.
The new policies are aimed at reducing misidentifications by using sequential photo lineups, where witnesses look at each photograph one at a time instead of all together, and blind administration, where the person administering the lineup does not know which person is the suspect.
Jones was convicted in 1985 on the basis of eyewitness testimony. The victim initially chose someone other than Jones from a photo lineup but at the preliminary hearing, she immediately picked Jones as her attacker and from then on was certain that he was the rapist. Jones, the first DNA exoneration in Kansas, was exonerated in 1992.
For more information about Topeka’s new policies, read the article in the Lawrence Journal-World, here.
For more information about eyewitness misidentification, click here.