After two years of delays, Dallas police have dropped out of a study designed to determine the best method for showing photo lineups to crime witnesses, says the Dallas Morning News. Instead, the department will change its policy to adopt a technique that was to be highlighted in the study. The new approach, called the sequential blind method, is aimed at reducing the number of eyewitness misidentifications. Dallas Police Chief David Kunkle ordered the changes because the department could wait no longer to improve its procedures.
Dallas will become just the eighth department in Texas to use the sequential blind lineup, according to a survey by the Justice Project, a nonprofit reform group. Because of the delays, the Urban Institute, the group doing the study, lost its funding from the National Institute of Justice, police said. Misidentifications have been cited as a key factor in an estimated 75 percent of the 220 wrongful convictions exposed by DNA testing nationwide since 1989. Dallas County has had 19 DNA-based exonerations – more than any jurisdiction in the nation – since 2001, when a state law began allowing post-conviction DNA testing. Dallas police investigated 13 of the 19 cases. All but one of the exonerations were based on faulty eyewitness testimony, a Dallas Morning News investigation determined.