False witness: Judge tackles mistaken identifications

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — A federal appeals judge in Philadelphia hopes to reduce the risk of wrongful convictions by addressing problems with eyewitness identification.

Scientific studies show that stress, fading memories and cross-racial mistakes contribute often to unintentional mistakes.

An Innocence Project study shows that three-fourths of 230 people exonerated by DNA had been identified by eyewitnesses.

Judge Theodore McKee says the law on eyewitness testimony has not kept up with the science.

McKee has formed a panel to suggest new jury instructions and trial rules after hearing the death-row appeal of James Dennis, of Philadelphia.

The appeals court found that eyewitness testimony at Dennis’ 1992 trial was flawed and ordered his release this month or a new trial.

Prosecutors have not yet announced their decision.