Eyewitness Identification Factors

The five factors to be used in determining the due process reliability of eyewitness identifications are: (1) the opportunity of the witness to view the actor during the event; (2) the witness's degree of attention to the actor at the time of the event; (3) the witness's capacity to observe the event, including his or her physical and mental acuity; (4) whether the witness's identification was made spontaneously and remained consistent thereafter, or whether it was the product of suggestion; (5) the nature of the event being observed and the likelihood that the witness would perceive, remember and relate it correctly. The purpose of analyzing the facts under the Ramirez test (State v. Ramirez, 817 P.2d 774 (Utah 1991)) is for the trial court to determine, as a threshold matter, whether the identification is constitutionally reliable and thus, whether it can properly be admitted into evidence. In this case, the trial court seemed to conclude that the showup did not meet the Ramirez standard. It granted the motion to suppress and prohibited the officers from testifying that the victim positively identified defendant. Despite this ruling, the court admitted testimony from the victim regarding the showup because the court found that the showup "resulted in a non-identification of the defendant." However, this court has specifically rejected the "level of certainty demonstrated by the witness at the confrontation" as a factor to be used in determining the constitutional reliability of an identification. See Ramirez, 817 P.2d at 781; Long, 721 P.2d at 490. Therefore, even though the showup "resulted in a non-identification," it was erroneous for the trial court to admit evidence of the showup procedure after granting the motion to suppress and concluding that the showup was suggestive and did not satisfy the Ramirez factors for constitutional reliability.