Emory Law Journal


Suedabeh Walker


Eyewitness identification evidence has long been recognized for its tendency toward unreliability and its susceptibility to suggestion. At the core of eyewitness identification is the ability to recognize unfamiliar faces-a memory process that can be distorted by factors intrinsic to the nature of memory, as well as by extrinsic suggestive identification procedures, such as lineups. Because the guilt or innocence of a criminal defendant is often at stake in cases where eyewitness identification is at issue, this potential for distortion is particularly worrisome. In fact, this concern is borne out in statistical data about wrongful convictions in the United States, showing that mistaken identifications are the leading cause of wrongful convictions in the country.