As a criminal defense law firm, we know that the criminal justice system is imperfect. One such procedure that has consistently failed the public for decades is the lineup system orchestrated by police precincts. This process of an eyewitness identifying a suspect in a lineup has resulted too often in the wrong outcome. Sadly, when a witness misidentifies a suspect, this can lead to the wrongfully accused being found guilty of a crime they did not commit.
Lineup procedures are commonly performed for crimes like sexual assault, aggravated assault, or battery. If you have been wrongfully accused of battery, please feel free to speak with a battery lawyer in Tampa. In the following two-part article, we first discussed several of the problems with the lineup system’s process. In the second section, we will discuss some methods that could be utilized to improve the lineup process as a whole.
Many of these proposals have even been recognized by law enforcement and justice organizations alike and could improve the accuracy of witness identification. For more information on some of these proposals visit The Innocence Project.
Double-Blind and Instruction Methods
One of the most basic concepts to improve the lineup system is what experts refer to as the “double-blind” procedure. The notion is simple: neither the administrator nor the eyewitness is aware of the suspect. This prevents the administrator from leading or influencing the eyewitness’ identification process. A similar method, the “instruction” process, requires the administrator to deliver a series of statements to the witness that provides them with the direction they need during the identification process. One of the statements in the instruction process technique clearly defines that the suspect may or may not be present in the lineup. This vital information could deter the witness from identifying a person present just because they feel obligated to do so.
Many lineups have no record of the identification process nor do they have a statement from the eyewitness elaborating on their experience or their level of confidence identifying the suspect. One practical change could be to electronically record the lineup procedure and to have better documentation of the witness’ statement at the conclusion of the process to ensure they were confident with their selection.
As a criminal defense law firm, we dedicate our time and services to defending innocent men and women that were wrongfully accused of a crime.
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.