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Lineup and Photo Array Suspect Identification

Lineup and Photo Array Suspect Identification

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Published by Jake
Criminal Investigation

Lineup and Photo Array Suspect Identification
Criminal Investigation

Lineup and Photo Array Suspect Identification

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Published by: Jake on Apr 29, 2007
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Suspect Identification1Lineup and Photo Array Suspect IdentificationJake J. Koppenhaver CJ-210Professor BrownFebruary 9, 2008
 
Suspect Identification2Lineup and Photo Array Suspect Identification Nothing short of a solid, accepted confession can bolster the spirits of investigators andsolidify their position in a case quite like witness identification. As far as identifying suspects go,there are a few main ways of doing this, the first being the classic “lineup,” the second beingvariations of a suspect photo array. Both of these tactics allow for investigators to identifysuspects up close to make sure they are suspecting the correct person, however the legalitiesinvolved in witness identification can either make or break an entire case.The famous lineup procedure involves taking a witness’ statement of the suspect’sdescription and creating a “line” of people with similar descriptions, including a suspect takeninto custody by police. What is shown on most police and courtroom drama shows is not theentire issue, however, and much work goes into planning and validating the lineup on both sides.Before conducting a lineup, investigators must gather several non-suspects based on the witnessdescription of height, weight, race, hair color, eye color, and other physical characteristics. The participants must also be of same demeanor, as differences in mood and outward feeling can ruinan otherwise successful procedure (for example, if the suspect is nervous and jittery, the other  participants cannot be smiling and relaxed). In some instances, visible tattoos or scars must also be present on all participants.Even if investigators are confident that the suspect in custody is in fact guilty, they mustgo to great lengths not to implicate them in front of the identifying witness. The lineup must also be recorded in great detail, to include the place it was conducted, those present, and every wordsthat was said during the process. Legal council for the suspect is usually present during the procedure to maintain the best interests for their client. The entire process revolves around producing a clean, unbiased identification of the suspect by the witness, without any help from
 
Suspect Identification3either side of the legal system. This is often helped by the lineups being performed by aninvestigator or other staff member who is not connected to the case.Photo arrays are an alternative to lineups, which are usually only performed in assault,sexual assault, and homicide cases, and do not have to be conducted with an attorney present for the suspect, or even in the presence of police. Usually six photographs are presented to thewitness, either in person or via postal mail, and upon identifying the suspect based on photograph only, the correct image is circled, signed, and dated by the witness. This method isnot only useful for situations involving uncooperative suspects, but also for crimes that do notwarrant funding for an elaborate identification procedure.Eyewitness identifications must usually be done according to a few basic tenets: theidentification should take place while the memory is fresh in the witness’ mind (if notimmediately during a “show-up” then as quick as possible); if multiple witness’ are to identify asuspect, they should do it separately to avoid influencing each other’s opinions (sequesteringthem prior to and after an identification is ideal); the non-suspects must accurately, to a degree,represent the suspect’s description by the witness, to avoid differences that could make thesuspect easily stand out on their own.Suspect identification is by far the most accurate way for a witness to place the suspect asthe positive offender, besides an actual video recording of the event that clearly displays thecriminal and their actions. Due to much legality involved, the process must be done in a way thatdoes not compromise the case, and therefore regulations and statues have been constructed toavoid tainting of the identification. If identification is proved to be tainted, the suspect is unlikelyto be prosecuted.

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