A Push to Restrict Courtroom Identifications and End Wrongful Convictions

The age-old courtroom move of asking a key witness if he sees the person who committed the crime in the room is slowly being fazed out of the judicial process.

Both Massachusetts and Connecticut have put limitations on using courtroom identifications as an approach in trials. The Connecticut Supreme Court ruled that a witness cannot be asked to identify the person who committed the crime unless they already have  identified the defendant before the date of trial.

Many people believe that this tactic has no place in courts in the 21st century, in which DNA samples and fingerprint testing can prove the guilt or innocence of a defendant. Trials can take place months or even years after the crime was committed, making courtroom identification, when the Defendant has not been identified prior to the trial, ripe with errors.

The Innocence Project, a nonprofit organization working to put an end to wrongful convictions, is behind the recent push to put restrictions on courtroom identification.  It is not likely that this practice will be completely fazed out anytime soon, however, due to the traditional and historical nature of the dramatic in-court identification.

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