The Court stated in later opinions the testifying witness must recount events with a total stranger under circumstances of emergency or emotional stress. The witness' recollection of the stranger can be distorted easily by the circumstances or by later actions of the police. Manson v. Brathwaite, 432 U.S. 98, 111-12.
From the Innocence Blog:
Eyewitness misidentification is the leading cause of wrongful conviction, and Iowa State Professor Gary Wells has studied the issue for three decades. In an article published this week on the website of the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard University, Wells writes guidelines for local reporters and activists to question whether their local law enforcement agency has enacted important identification reforms based on solid scientific research.It is critical for the Bryan/College Station criminal defense lawyer to understand the dynamics involved in eyewitness identification cases. In future posts we'll explore the nature of eyewitness testimony, its weaknesses, and how an experienced lawyer can use improper police procedures and expert testimony to discredit the testimony of an eyewitness.
Click here to read the article. (Nieman Watchdog, Harvard University, 6/12/07)