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Ways to Improve the Lineup System Part 1

When it comes to aggravated or sexual assault cases, eyewitness misidentification can taint an investigation in the earliest stages and lead to a wrongful conviction. This crucial time period of finding the guilty party is lost because the police are building a case against the wrong person. If you have been accused of a crime you did not commit, please contact an aggravated assault attorney in Tampa. We are here to defend your legal rights.

The lineup system is the process police precincts often use in a variety of violent crime cases including for aggravated assault. The procedure is created to ensure that the eyewitness can confirm the primary suspect by selecting them out of a lineup that includes several non-suspects, also known as “fillers,” that resemble the eyewitnesses’ physical description of the assailant. If successfully administered, this process brings compelling evidence against the accused.

In the following two-part article, we will first discuss several of the inaccurate procedures that police precincts include in their lineup system and how this can create bias against the primary suspect. In the second section, we will discuss some methods that could be incorporated to improve the process as a whole.

The Psychology of the Eyewitness

The role of the eyewitness in the lineup selection is to choose the suspect out of the lineup. Often the eyewitness feels obligated to select a person in the lineup when in reality the suspect may not be present. Without proper notice that the suspect may or may not be present, the eyewitness may choose an individual that they are not confident in being the culprit.

The Lineup System’s Administrator

Typically, the individual that conducts the lineup process, the lineup administrator, is aware of whom the suspect is and can offer unintentional, or deliberate, clues to the eyewitness through their questioning. This results in the eyewitness focusing more on that particular person than the fillers. In some cases, the fillers in the lineup do not closely resemble the eyewitnesses’ description of the suspect and thus, the accused party is more prominently featured and easier to identify during this procedure.

If you have been accused of a crime you did not commit contact an aggravated assault attorney in Tampa. We are here to offer you counsel regarding your legal options.

For a free consultation with an experienced aggravated assault lawyer in Tampa, please contact The Rickman Law Firm at (813) 370-1185 or submit our contact request form.

Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.