The reliability of eyewitness identification in criminal cases took another hit s Cornelius Dupree Jr., sentenced to 75 years in prison for a rape-robbery he did not commit, walked out of a Dallas courtroom a free man, the Houston Chronicle reports. Dupree, 51, served 30 years for the 1979 Dallas crime before being paroled last July.
Days later, DNA testing in the case – performed at the behest of the New York-based Innocence Project – showed he was not the rapist. Dupree spent more time in prison than any other Texas inmate cleared through new DNA testing. The Innocence Project’s Barry Scheck called Dupree’s wrongful conviction “just mind-blowing,” identifying it as “a classic case of eyewitness misidentification.” Texas leads the nation in identifying wrongly convicted prisoners through DNA testing. Since 2000, the state has exonerated 42 inmates. Two others, including Dupree, have been released pending formal exoneration by the state. Bogus eyewitness identifications played a role in all but six of the convictions. An advisory committee has called on the state to require Sam Houston State University’s Blackwood Law Enforcement Management Institute to draft a model policy and training materials for law enforcement agencies conducting photo and live lineups.