Convicting the Innocent
DNA Exonerations Database

Arthur Lee Whitfield

First Name Arthur Lee
Last NameWhitfield
Year of Conviction1982
Year of Exoneration2004
Testing inculpated culpritCold Hit
State of ConvictionVirginia
Trial, Bench Trial, or Guilty PleaTrial
Type of CrimeRape
Death SentenceNo
Gender of ExonereeMale
Race of exonereeBlack
Type of Innocence Defense
  • Alibi
Description / Quotes from Testimony Concerning Defense

● Missing defense portion of trial transcript.

Did the defendant testify at trial?Yes
Types of evidence at trial
  • Eyewitness
Identity of eyewitness
  • Cross Racial Identification
  • Victim
Multiple eyewitnesses3
Lineup Procedures
  • Lineup
  • Mug shots
  • Photo array
  • Showup
Suggestive Procedures

Yes ● Show-up – showed single photo of Whitfield to victim after line-up ● Suggestive line-up ● Victim not told attacker might not be present – one victim told police had the attacker before line-up

Quotes from testimony #1

Police showed victims a single photograph of thedefendant, nude and of his genitals, after line-up. The first victim was told, “Just come down for a lineup, that they had a man that might possible be the person” First victim said there was only one other man with a light-complexion in the line-up. Second victim testified: “Q. Were any others in the lineup the same complexion as this man? A. No.” Both victims present at police station for line-up, so before second victim viewed line-up, she saw first who “came in and started crying. I knew then she saw the man that raped her and she just cried.”

Unreliable Identification?

Yes ● Initially uncertain● Discrepancy in description – facial hair

Quotes from testimony #2

One victim initially chose six photos frommug shots, stating, and recalled at trial, "I picked his and a few other ones out.” Officer read at trial description the victim gave as "shaven" but claims she was "unsure of whether or not he did have any facial hair or not" – yet defendant had a beard and mustache. Victim testified, “I said I don’t believe he had any facial hair.

Highest level reachedNR