Solutions to the Problem of Witness IDs
When law enforcement is investigating a crime, it is not uncommon for them to use witness identification to find the offender. This is sometimes done through a photo lineup, or police lineup.. Now, many researchers have found that these witness IDs are not as effective as they were once.. While no one is suggesting that witness IDs are no longer used, there are solutions to the problem that could prevent innocent people from being sentenced to lengthy jail time.
Double Blind Lineups
One solution to making witness IDs more effective involves conducting double blind lineups, and this practice could also be used when witnesses are flipping through the photo albums law enforcement departments also use. A double blind lineup means that neither the law enforcement officer, nor the witness or victim knows the identity of the suspect. It is most important that the law enforcement officer conducting the lineup does not know the identity of the suspect. That can prevent the officer from giving cues or pressuring the witness to choose the suspect over someone else, even if they do not realize that they are doing it.
Another solution offered is using people that look very similar in appearance in lineups, and showing witnesses and victims pictures of people that also look very similar. This can cause witnesses to place a greater focus on smaller details rather than the witness seeing one similar aspect of the offender and choosing that photo, or that person in the lineup. For example, someone may be the victim of a robbery in which the offender had brown hair. If the lineup that they are shown includes only people with blonde hair, but one of them has brown hair, the witness would probably be much more likely to choose the individual with brown hair, even if that person was innocent and the actual suspect had simply dyed their hair.
Not Using Mugshots or Photo Albums in Initial Identifications
When law enforcement shows victims mugshots or photo albums of suspects when trying to make an initial identification, it could lead to investigating the wrong person. Instead, law enforcement should ask victims and witnesses for a physical description and base their investigation on that instead of placing ideas into the victim’s or witness’ head that a certain person is a suspect when they are not. Additionally, showing victims and witnesses pictures of mug shots may make someone already appear guilty, even when they are not.
Our Florida Criminal Defense Lawyers are Here to Help
If you have been wrongly identified or wrongly accused of committing a crime, our Orlando criminal defense lawyers at O’Mara Law Group are here to help. We know how to ensure your rights are upheld, will work hard to prove your innocence, and give you the best chance of a successful outcome. When you need a solid legal defense, call us at (407) 634-6604 to speak to one of our experienced attorneys today.