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What does a lineup look like in real life? Most importantly, can you rely on it?

Are police lineups trustworthy

The lineup’s purpose is to gather critical evidence in a criminal prosecution. It is regarded a critical component of any police investigation and comes in three varieties: “simultaneous,” “sequential,” and “multiple-identification.”

The Concurrent Lineup

The simultaneous lineup is the most common and well-known variant. Officials gather the suspect and at least five “fillers” with comparable physical characteristics. Fillers might be recruited among persons who have already been accused of similar offences. The six are then ordered at random. The witness stands behind a one-way glass mirror, and the police officer, in the presence of a district attorney and a defence counsel, will:

Give the witness specific viewing directions, noting that persons may not seem exactly as they did on the day of the crime.

Instruct people present at the lineup not to speculate on the suspect’s position or identity.

Ascertain that all lineup members conduct identifying behaviours such as voice and movement.

Avoid saying anything to the witness that might influence his or her decision.

If an identification is made, avoid disclosing any information about the chosen person to the witness before delivering a declaration of certainty.

Inquire openly of the victim how positive he or she is of identification.

Keep a written record as well as photos or videos of the identification findings.

Tell the witness not to discuss the lineup with other witnesses or the media.

The Lineup in Sequence

Individuals, including the suspect, are seen one at a time in random order in a “sequence” lineup. The witness will be given as much time as required to determine whether or not to go on to the next individual.

Even if the victim has previously made an identification, all members of the line-up are shown to the victim in a sequential lineup. According to recent Department of Justice research, witnesses in a sequential lineup are more likely to identify the guilty person because to the lesser likelihood of comparison between persons.

The Lineup of Multiple Identities

Finally, with the assistance of psychologists, the “multiple-identification” lineup was created, a form that one recent research determined to give the best evidence for prosecutors.

In this style, the witness recognises the culprit from a series of photographs. First, the witness only sees the suspect’s face; after that, the witness is shown successive images of the suspect’s body or verbal audio recordings. The objective is that this form of multiple lineup will improve identification accuracy.

Do They Have Any Effect?

So, now that you understand how lineups function, the issue is: are they dependable?

The reliability of police lineups is a contentious issue. Many lineups are “tainted with startling regularity,” which means that a police officer may press a victim to identify the person suspected of being the topic.

According to a research conducted by the Innocence Project, a non-profit organisation that utilises DNA testing to exonerate people who have been wrongfully convicted, false identification from lineups accounted for 60 of the 82 exonerations. Across the nation, lineup standards have been amended to provide a level of confidence to an eyewitness identification. Among the modifications are:

The lineup should be conducted by someone other than the principal investigator on the case. According to a National Science Foundation research published in May 2005, many investigators unknowingly influence a witness’ decision in a lineup via body language and eye contact.

Before the lineup, the witness should be informed that the culprit may not be among those in the lineup.

The lineup should be constructed such that the suspect does not stand out.

Police lineups aren’t going away anytime soon, even if they aren’t the most reliable tool in the criminal investigative toolbox. With recent breakthroughs in technique from other fields, the sobbing woman will have a higher chance of identifying the correct one when she points out the evil person.