Published on: Wednesday, January 22, 2020
In September 2016, the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit created a Task Force on Eyewitness identification. At the time the Task Force was formed, no other federal court had undertaken such a project on eyewitness identification. The Task Force was created, in part, in response to the scientific developments in the field of eyewitness identification and the recognition that courts had begun to apply these developments in criminal cases. The Task Force was co-chaired by the Honorable Theodore A. McKee, Judge for the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, and the Honorable Mitchell S. Goldberg, Judge for the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. The Task Force was charged with making recommendations "to promote reliable practices for eyewitness investigation and to effectively deter unnecessarily suggestive identification procedures, which raise the risk of wrongful conviction." Last fall, the Task Force issued its report. SeeThird Circuit Task Force, 2019 Report of the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit Task Force on Eyewitness Identifications, 92 Temple L. Rev. 1 (Fall 2019). The report is also attached in its original format.PDF icon 2019 Report of Third Circuit Task Force On Eyewitness Identifications

The Task Force's diverse members included three judges of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit (including Judge McKee), district judges from almost every district within the Third Circuit, an internationally prominent Chief of Police who is a member of the board of directors of the International Association of Chiefs of Police, nationally prominent academicians and researchers with expertise in the area of eyewitness identification, an Assistant United States Attorney, a former Chief Federal Public Defender, a Supervising Deputy Attorney General who serves as Deputy Chief of the Prosecutors Supervision and Training Bureau for the state of New Jersey, and an Assistant Special Agent-in-Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The Task Force met as a whole and in subcommittees, drafted provisional reports, and ultimately adopted this Report. To the extent that Task Force members disagree with portions of this Report, their disagreement is noted.

The Training Division provides resources on forensic evidence and evidence generally at