EMBARGOED FOR RELEASENIJ
TUESDAY, OCTOBER 26 - AFTER 3:30 P.M., 1999202/307-0703

JUSTICE DEPARTMENT RELEASES GUIDE ON EYEWITNESS EVIDENCE

Guide and Other Work Called for by Attorney General Reno

WASHINGTON, D.C.--The Justice Department's National Institute of Justice (NIJ) today released "Eyewitness Evidence: A Guide for Law Enforcement," which provides information to law enforcement officials responsible for the collection and preservation of eyewitness evidence. Based on Attorney General Reno's personal interest in this subject, NIJ Director Jeremy Travis convened a working group of leading practitioners and experts to develop the guide.

"Because of the role that eyewitnesses play in supplying critical evidence about crimes, I asked NIJ to explore this issue," said Attorney General Janet Reno. "The recommendations in this guide will be an invaluable resource for jurisdictions across the country, and can be incorporated as needed to fit unique local circumstances."

The guide is not intended to benchmark legal criteria for the admissibility of evidence. Rather, it sets out rigorous criteria for handling eyewitness evidence that are as demanding as those governing the handling of physical trace evidence.

"When the Attorney General asked us to explore this issue, we brought together not only law enforcement officials, but prosecutors, defense attorneys, and researchers," said NIJ Director Jeremy Travis. "This product represents a combination of the best current thinking on police practices and psychological research."

In May 1998, NIJ established the Technical Working Group for Eyewitness Evidence to identify, define, and assemble a set of investigative tasks that could be performed in every investigation involving eyewitness evidence. The 34-member working group continues to work to identify "best practices" and relay this information to criminal justice professionals who can practically apply this knowledge. A list of the working group members is attached.

The Working Group is meeting Tuesday, October 26 in Washington, D.C. to discuss additional methods of disseminating information on its findings. Today, the group will begin development of a syllabus to support the new guide and discuss the development of a CD-ROM that can be distributed to interested criminal justice professionals with additional information on eyewitness evidence issues.

For a copy of the guide, contact the National Criminal Justice Reference Service at 1-800/851-3420. Additional information about NIJ and the Office of Justice Programs is available at: http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/nij.

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For additional information, contact Doug Johnson at 202/616-3559

WORKING GROUP MEMBERS

Commander Ella M. Bully (Ret.)
Detroit Police Department
Detroit, Michigan

Sgt. Paul Carroll (Ret.)
Chicago Police Department
Chicago, Illinois

Carole E. Chaski, Ph.D.
Institute of Linguistic Evidence
Georgetown, Delaware

James Doyle
Attorney at Law
Boston, Massachusetts

Ronald P. Fisher, Ph.D.
Florida International University
North Miami, Florida

Mark R. Larson
King County Prosecutor's Office
Seattle, Washington

Capt. Donald Mauro
Los Angeles County Sheriff's Office
Los Angeles, California

Melissa Mourges
New York County DA's Office
New York, New York

Gary L. Wells, Ph.D.
Iowa State University
Ames, Iowa

Michael Barrasse
Lackawanna County District Attorney
Scranton, Pennsylvania

Det. Sgt. Chet Bush
Kent County Sheriff's Office
Grand Rapids, Michigan

Solomon M. Fulero, Ph.D., J.D.
Sinclair College
Dayton, Ohio

David C. Niblack
Attorney at Law
Washington, D.C.

Det. Lt. Kenneth A. Patenaude
Northampton Police Department
Northampton, Massachusetts

Patricia Ramirez
Dodge County DA's Office
Juneau, Wisconsin

Senior Investigator Eugene Rifenburg
New York State Police (Ret.)
Oneida Indian Nation Police
Munnsville, New York

Det. Edward Rusticus
Kent County Sheriff's Office
Grand Rapids, Michigan

Capt. Michael B. Wall
Northampton Police Department
Northampton, Massachusetts

Deputy Daniel Alarcon II
Hillsborough Co. Sheriff's Office
Tampa, Florida

First Sgt. Roger Broadbent
Virginia State Police
Fairfax Station, Virginia

Cpl. J.R. Burton
Hillsborough Co. Sheriff's Office
Tampa, Florida

Caterina DiTraglia
State of Missouri
Public Defender System
St. Louis, Missouri

Officer Patricia Marshall
Chicago Police Department
Chicago, Illinois

Det. Ray Staley
Kansas City Police Department
Kansas City, Missouri

Lt. Tami Thomas
Atlantic Beach Police Department
Atlantic Beach, North Carolina

Det. Sgt. J. Glenn Diviney (Ret.)
Tarrant County Sheriff's Office
Fort Worth, Texas

Investigations Chief Arlyn Greydanus
Montana Department of Justice
Division of Criminal Investigations
Helena, Montana

Investigator Kathy Griffin
Loveland Police Department
Loveland, Colorado

Roy S. Malpass, Ph.D.
University of Texas El Paso
El Paso, Texas

Jeralyn Merritt
Attorney at Law
Denver, Colorado

James Fox
San Mateo County DA
Redwood City, California

William Hodgman
Los Angeles County DA's Office
Los Angeles, California

Rod C.L. Lindsay, Ph.D.
Queen's University
Kingston, Ontario

John Turtle, Ph.D.
Ryerson Polytechnic University
Toronto, Ontario