The Florida Innocence Commission, whose purpose is to conduct a comprehensive study of the causes of wrongful conviction, was created by Florida Supreme Court Administrative Order AOSC10-39, issued on July 2, 2010. For those Florida criminal defense attorneys who are interested in the hot topic of eyewitness mistaken identification, or “misidentification,” which is the term used by some Courts, a copy of the Commission’s June 2011 Report should provide some interesting and insightful reading.
First, by way of background, you may wish to review one of my previous posts on the topic of eyewitness mistaken identification in Florida, Texas, and other states here.
I strongly urge Florida’s criminal defense attorneys to read the Commissions’ June 2011 report. Not only does it summarize the testimony of one of our country’s top experts in the area of eyewitness mistaken identification, Professor Gary L. Wells of Iowa State University, but the report also provides valuable insight into the legislative process and current police agency standards for police lineups. Although the Commission voted in May of 2011 that Florida law enforcement agencies should adopt uniform Standards for Florida State and Local Law Enforcement Agencies in Dealing with Photographic or Live Lineups in Eyewitness Identification, and Commentary and Instructions, as well as to request consideration of revising Florida’s current jury instructions to account for cases of eyewitness mistaken identification, it should be noted that not everyone in the State of Florida is in favor of mandating the implementation of uniform, statewide procedures to govern the administration of police lineups. Who could possibly oppose uniform standards? Why, various law enforcement agencies themselves, and the Florida Prosecuting Attorneys Association. You can read all about it in the Commission’s report.
The Commission’s next hearing on this topic, and others, will be held on Monday October 12, 2011, at Orlando’s Rosen Hotel. Members of Florida’s Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers are encouraged to attend if they are able.