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32 Law & Hum. Behav. 1 (2008)

handle is hein.journals/lwhmbv32 and id is 1 raw text is: Law Hum Behav (2008) 32:1-2
DOI 10.1007/s10979-007-9120-x
Introduction to Commentaries on the Illinois Pilot Study
of Lineup Reforms
Brian L. Cutler - Margaret Bull Kovera
Published online: 14 December 2007
© American Psychology-Law Society/Division 41 of the American Psychological Association 2007

Between 2000 and 2002, the Illinois Commission on
Capital Punishment, appointed by then-Governor George
Ryan, reviewed the justice procedures that lead to capital
punishment with the objective of identifying reforms that
enhance the system's fairness and accuracy. The Com-
mission issued its report in 2002. In recognition of the
potential role of mistaken identification in erroneous con-
viction, this report included  six  recommendations
concerning eyewitness identification procedures, several of
which have since become law (see Mecklenburg 2006 for
Following this report, the Illinois legislature mandated a
study of the effects of double-blind and sequential lineup
procedures (two of the six recommendations of the Com-
mission) and provided guidance for the study protocol. In
2004, the Illinois State Police appointed Sheri Mecklen-
burg (who would later become Chief Counsel to the
Chicago Police Department and is now Assistant United
States Attorney) as Director of the field study. The study
was carried out in three Illinois districts. Data were col-
lected in 2004 and 2005 and were analyzed by Drs. Roy
Malpass and Ebbe Ebbesen (independently). Details of the
study and findings appeared in the Report to the Illinois
Legislature (Illinois Pilot Report; Mecklenburg 2006).
Since its publication, the Illinois field study has received
a great deal of attention among eyewitness researchers, law
enforcement, and attorneys. The Illinois Pilot Report has
B. L. Cutler (®)
University of North Carolina at Charlotte, Charlotte, NC, USA
e-mail: blcutler@uncc.edu
M. B. Kovera
John Jay College of Criminal Justice, CUNY, New York, NY,

been the subject of attention at several conferences and
multiple publications on the web and in print. Indeed, the
report has generated sufficient attention that Dr. Margaret
Bull Kovera, Associate Editor, and I decided to devote a
portion of LHB journal space to a forum for commentaries
about the Illinois field study and Illinois Pilot Report
(Mecklenburg 2006).
This section begins with a commentary (Schacter et al.
this issue) co-authored by seven distinguished psycholo-
gists convened by the Center for Modern Forensic Practice
of the John Jay College of Criminal Justice. Their com-
mentary focuses on the methodology of the study with
particular reference to a confound between double-blind
(versus single-blind) and sequential (versus simultaneous)
presentation that was present in the study. Sequential pre-
sentation was always double-blind, and simultaneous
presentation was always single-blind. They conclude that
this design has devastating consequences for assessing the
real-world implications of this particular study and they
explain the reasoning behind their conclusion.
In a spirited defense of the Illinois field study, Sheri
Mecklenburg et al. (this issue), re-iterate and defend the
rationale for the study design, observe that laboratory
studies have confounds that resemble the confound in the
Illinois study, suggest that data from the study can be
evaluated independently of the confound by comparing
results to existing studies, argue against the alternative (and
more pessimistic) interpretations of the study results, and
ultimately conclude that we cannot dismiss the value of a
field study such as the Illinois Pilot Program, which has
great potential to add to the body of knowledge on eye-
witness identification.
All five commentaries conclude that additional field
research on lineup procedures are necessary and that the
timing is right to move forward with these field studies.

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