The Austin Chief of Police announces a policy change today in the way the department conducts suspect line-ups. Chief Art Acevedo says, after participating in a national study, he's convinced sequential line-ups reduce the percentage of misidentification.
Acevedo says Austin was one of four major cities involved in the study with Dr. Gary Wells of Iowa state. The study happened in 2009 and Austin provided much of the data.
Sequential line-ups offer a look at suspect photos one-at-a-time, instead of all at once. Acevedo says he knows of only one wrongful conviction due to misidentification at APD, but if they could have prevented only that one with the new policy, it's worth it.
Acevedo says they also have a detective who doesn't know who the real suspect is conduct the line-up to avoid unintended tells. In the last decade, with DNA exonerations, hard data indicates as much as 75 percent of wrongful convictions have been because of mistaken eye-witness identification.