Florida Innocence Commission Recommends Changes to Photo Lineups

Non-standardized photo identification procedures have lead to too many innocent men and women being falsely identified for committing crimes in which they were not actually involved. Florida, like many other states, does not currently have statewide standards regarding eyewitness photo lineups in criminal cases. The Florida Innocence Commission is working to change that to further prevent innocent people from becoming criminal defendants.

Eyewitness identification is a powerful tool. When an eyewitness identifies a suspect from a photo lineup, it is not uncommon for the identification to lead to the identified person later being convicted of a crime he or she did not commit.

So far, 267 individuals have been exonerated by DNA evidence throughout the United States. Seventy-five percent of those 267 wrongly-convicted individuals were convicted, at least in part, based on eyewitness accounts.

Twelve of the 267 were from Florida. Of those twelve, nine were found guilty based on incorrect eyewitness accounts. The purpose of our criminal justice system is not served when innocent people are misidentified, wrongly-charged, wrongly-convicted and then forced to deal with the consequences of a criminal conviction.

Non-Standardized Identification Procedures May Influence Eyewitnesses

Various factors can influence an eyewitness’ misidentification of a suspect during a photo lineup. Gestures made by investigators or police, whether intentional or not, can affect eyewitness identification. During a photo lineup, even a simple smile or nod while the eyewitness is looking at photos is inappropriate as it could result in misidentification of the wrong person.

When an eyewitness makes a positive photo identification, police may improperly focus investigation efforts on the person identified to the exclusion of all other suspects. Our criminal justice system is far from perfect. Limiting the scope of an investigation and targeting the wrong individual can improperly lead to a guilty verdict.

Proposal for Statewide Standards for Photo Lineups

The Florida Legislature recently considered, but did not pass, the Eye Witness Identification Reform Act, calling for double-blind lineups. In a double-blind lineup, the person who administers the photo lineup to the eyewitness would not know which picture is that of a known suspect and which pictures are not. He or she cannot then intentionally or accidentally influence the eyewitness’s identification.

The Florida Innocence Commission proposes standardizing the display of photos in a photo lineup. The Commission suggests that eyewitnesses be shown mug shots all at once: six photos to a page with three photos in each of two rows, or alternatively, as a lineup consisting of six photos in eight folders, leaving two of the folders empty. Police officers would also have to step away and not talk while the eyewitness or crime victim was looking at the photos.

As long as innocent people are being jailed for crimes they did not commit, based in whole or in part on a faulty eyewitness identification, there is room for improvement in our system. If you’ve been charged with a crime, your first step should be to discuss your options with an experienced criminal defense attorney. Whether you’ve been wrongly accused, made a mistake or a bad decision, a Florida criminal defense lawyer can help you get a second chance.

Recent Criminal
Case Results

Grand Theft ($300-$5000)

Nolle Prosequi-Case Dropped

CT-Driving Under the Influence Car (M1)

Nolle Prosequi - Case Dropped

CT- Driving under the influence car

Nolle Prosequi - Case Dropped

Grand Theft Third Degree

Adjudicated Guilty; One day jail/one day time serve; Restitution fees; Court Cost

Petit Theft < 300

We negotiated an agreement that entailed the State dropping the charge after our client completed a Pre-Trial Diversion Program. The Charge was dropped via a Nolle Prosequi.

Unlawful Speeding

Withhold of Adjudication; No points on license; Paid fine and clerk cost; 8 hour aggressive driver class; 90 days to satisfy fine and class

Shoot/Throw Missile Into Dwell/Struct/Veh; Child Abuse; Criminal Mischief; Battery (Domestic Violence)

No Information Notice - Charges Dropped

Attach Tag/Lic Plate To Unassigned Vehicle (M2)

Nolle Prosequi - Case Dropped

DUI with Minor In Car or BAL of .20 or Higher

Pled No Contest, 1 Year Probation, 10 day Car Impound, Community Service

Motion to Modify Probation

Motion Granted in 48 hours

Petit Theft

Adjudication Withheld, 4 Months probation, Costs/Fines, Impulse Control Class

Petit Theft of $100 or MORE (M1)

Nolle Prosequi

Refuse To Submit To DUI Test (M1)

Case Dropped

Battery on Law Enforcement Officer (F3); Disorderly Conduct (M2)

Nolle Prosequi - Case Dropped


Charges Dropped

Scheme to Defraud(F3); Grand Theft(F3)

Motion to Terminate Probation Granted

Unlawful Speed


Failed to Yield at Intersection

Not Guilty

Leave Scene Of A Crash W/Property Damage (M2)

Case Dropped

Motion to Modify and Impose a Withhold of Adjudication


Attempted Burglary of a Conveyance

Charges dropped

Possession of Cannabis (less than 20 grams)

Charges dropped


Reduced to reckless driving

Possession of Alcohol Under the Age of 21

Charges dropped

Driving Under the Influence

Reduced to Reckless Driving

Violation of Probation

Case Dismissed

More Cases

Recent Personal
Injury Settlements


Scooter Accident


Car Accident


Car Accident


Government Liability Case


Back Injury

More Settlements