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35 Law & Hum. Behav. 1 (2011)

handle is hein.journals/lwhmbv35 and id is 1 raw text is: Law Hum Behav (2011) 35:1-12
DOI 10.1007/s 10979-009-9207-7
What We Know Now: The Evanston Illinois Field Lineups
Nancy K. Steblay
Published online: 23 February 2010
© American Psychology-Law Society/Division 41 of the American Psychological Association 2010

Abstract A Freedom of Information Act lawsuit secured
100 eyewitness identification reports from Evanston, Illi-
nois, one of three cities of the Illinois Pilot Program. The
files provide empirical evidence regarding three methodo-
logical aspects of the Program's comparison of non-
blind simultaneous to double-blind sequential lineups. (1)
A-priori differences existed between lineup conditions. For
example, the simultaneous non-blind lineup condition was
more likely to involve witnesses who had already identified
the suspect in a previous lineup or who knew the offender
(non-stranger identifications), and this condition also
entailed shorter delays between event and lineup. (2)
Verbatim eyewitness comments were recorded more often
in double-blind sequential than in non-blind simultaneous
lineup reports (83% vs. 39%). (3) Effective lineup structure
was used equally in the two lineup conditions.
Keywords Eyewitness - Lineups - Field study
Law and Human Behavior published a series of six com-
mentaries in 2008 that addressed the Illinois Pilot Program,
a year-long field test of police lineups in three Illinois cities
(Cutler & Kovera, 2008; Mecklenburg, Bailey, & Larson,
2008a; Ross & Malpass, 2008; Schacter et al., 2008;
Steblay, 2008; Wells, 2008). A summary of the pilot pro-
gram produced two years earlier by the General Counsel to
Preliminary data were presented at the American Psychology-Law
Society Conference, 2009, San Antonio, TX.
N. K. Steblay (®)
Department of Psychology, Augsburg College, 2211 Riverside
Avenue, Minneapolis, MN 55454, USA
e-mail: steblay@augsburg.edu

the Chicago Police (Mecklenburg, 2006a, b) generated
substantial controversy in scientific and legal communities.
Mecklenburg suggested existing Illinois police lineup
practice to be superior to procedures developed in eye-
witness laboratories. That is, non-blind simultaneous-
format lineups produced higher suspect identification rates
and lower filler picks (known errors) than did the double-
blind sequential-format lineups recommended by many
scientists (see e.g., Steblay, Dysart, Fulero, & Lindsay,
2001; Wells, Memon, & Penrod, 2006).1
The legislated intent of the Illinois Pilot Program (here-
inafter the Program) was to determine the efficacy of the
double-blind sequential lineup compared to Illinois practice,
and the Program was to be designed to elicit information for
comparative evaluation purposes, and...consistent with
objective scientific research methodology (Capital Pun-
ishment Reform Study Committee Act, 2003). The ensuing
arguments regarding Mecklenburg's (2006a) report focused
on interpretation of the data given the design of the study, and
objective scientific methodology became the linchpin for
debate regarding the pilot results. For example, the lead
article in the LHB series (Schacter et al., 2008) provided an
evaluation of the Illinois study design by a group of distin-
guished scientists. The seven-member panel issued a
judgment that the Program was unreliable as a basis for
determining effective eyewitness identification procedures.
This conclusion reflected the panel's view that the study had
a fundamental confound in its comparison of double-blind
sequential lineups with non-blind simultaneous lineups, a
flaw that has devastating consequences for assessing the
real-world implications... [and] guaranteed  that most
1 This outcome was present in two of the three cities tested, Chicago
and Evanston. Joliet, however, produced results in line with
laboratory results.

1 Springer

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