Chapter 14: Pretrial Visual Identification Procedure

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Chapter 14 is titled "Pretrial Visual Identification Procedures." This refers to the process whereby eyewitnesses identify suspects of a crime. Most of these identifications are done through either a showup (where one suspect is shown to either a victim or a witness of a crime) or through a lineup (where several people are shown to a victim or witness at the same time). Eyewitness identification is not always accurate, however. Research has shown it is the leading cause of wrongful convictions. An individual's memory replies on perception, a highly selective neurological process that "is as dependent upon psychological factors as it is on physical senses" (Ferdico, Fradella, & Totten 538). Memory is made up of a three phase process: (1) the acquisition phase, where sensory data is encoded in the cerebral cortex; (2) the retention phase, where the brain stores the memory until it is called upon for retrieval; and (3) the retrieval phase, where an individual's brain searches for the information, retrieves it, and then is able to communicate it to others. There are several event and witness factors that have an influence on perception and memory. Event factors include time, duration of the event, speed and distance involved, changes in visual adaptation to light …show more content…
Denno Rule establishes that pretrial identification procedures involving lineups, showups, and photo arrays should not be used in a way that is "unnecessarily suggestive and conducive to irreparable mistaken identification" (Ferdico, Fradella, & Totten 549). The factors to be taken into consideration when determining the reliability of a witness's identification include the: (1) witness's opportunity to view the criminal at the time of the crime; (2) witness's degree of attention; (3) accuracy of the witness's prior description of the criminal; (4) level of certainty demonstrated by the witness at the confrontation; and (5) length of time between the crime and the

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