Murder charge dismissed – A case of Mistaken Identification

Bossier Parish Courthouse

Bossier Parish Courthouse

The Shreveport Times is reporting today about the dismissal of murder charges against our client, Michael Madden. You can read the article at The Times or download the pdf here. For a year Michael Madden sat in the Bossier Parish Detention Center accused of a crime he did not commit. Michael is at home now with his family and we are honored to have been able to represent him.

Every year over 750,000 people are arrested based on their identification in a police line-up, photo array or show-up. Although we have known about the problems with eyewitness identification for decades, there has been little change in the legal system or in police practices to prevent mistaken identification and the miscarriages of justice that flow from them. As a result mistaken eyewitness testimony remains the leading cause of wrongful convictions.

According to the Innocence ProjectEyewitness misidentification is the single greatest cause of wrongful convictions nationwide, playing a role in nearly 75% of convictions overturned through DNA testing.

In 1998, then Attorney General Janet Reno sought to deal with the inherent problems of Eyewitness Evidence and appointed a number of prosecutors, police officers, defense lawyers, and psychologists to work under the auspices of the United States Department of Justice and the National Institute of Justice to address the problem. This Technical Working Group authored Eyewitness Evidence: A Guide for Law Enforcement, National Inst. of Justice, U.S. Dept. of Justice (Oct. 1999) and  Eyewitness Evidence: A Trainer’s Manual for Law Enforcement. These publications set out guidelines and best practices for the conduct of lineups and photo-arrays. Nationwide, many police departments have adopted these as standard practices. Sadly however, many police officers and agencies in our community and throughout Louisiana remain totally unfamiliar with these documents and the guidelines and best practices they contain.

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