St. Clair Steward was wrongfully arrested and charged with attempted murder after being picked out of a “mug shot search.”
Queens Detectives asked a victim to search through a random police database of mug shots. After viewing 31 photos, the victim picked Mr. Steward’s and then identified him one day later in a line-up. Based on this identification alone, Mr. Steward was held in jail for over two months. He was released only after DNA evidence exonerated him.
This case exposes the problems inherent in “mug shot searches” and the fallibility of eye-witness identification. As documented by the Times, many of the nations top police forces no longer use this practice because of its potential for suggestiveness and danger of false identification:
As the number of photos shown increases, “the more likely you are to encounter someone who looks like the person who committed the crime, but didn’t,” said John Wixted, a professor of psychology at the University of California, San Diego, who researches eyewitness memory.
Lord & Schewel is seeking compensation for Mr. Steward and a change in the New York Police Department’s photo identification procedures. If you are a victim of a wrongful arrest, detention, or conviction please contact Lord & Schewel Today.