The basis for many criminal convictions lie on eyewitness identifications of criminals supposedly committed those crimes. When a person is robbed, assaulted, or otherwise victimized, prosecutors will bring in witnesses to testify about the what they saw, and to identify the defendant as the person that they saw commit the crime.
Interestingly, eyewitnesses are often wrong. Eyewitness misidentification is the single greatest contributing factor to wrongful convictions. In cases that were proven by DNA testing, a mistaken eyewitness identification played a role in more than 70 percent of convictions overturned through DNA testing in the USA.
The Innocence Project recently announced that "researchers from the University of Virginia and the University of Utah are conducting a study on eyewitness misidentification that will aim to inform improved suspect identification procedures to better avoid wrongful convictions".
For more information about how wrongful convictions can occur in cases of misidentification, click here.