Eyewitness identification procedures: The fifth rule.

Kassin, S. (1998) Eyewitness identification procedures: The fifth rule. Law & Human Behavior, 22, 649-653.

Comments that the 4 recommendations of G. L. Wells et al to improve eyewitness identification procedures are ideally suited to minimize many potential problems. It is argued, however, that there is one recommendation (already being implemented in some precincts) that the authors considered and did not propose that is the most important rule of all: the videotaping of the lineup and witness identification. It is suggested that videotaping serves two essential functions: (1) establishing an objective record of the procedures followed independent of police self-report, and (2) providing the judge (for suppression hearing purposes), the attorneys (for advocacy purposes) and the jury (for fact-finding purposes) with an objective electronic record of the witness’s decision and the context in which that decision was made.