When a person is arrested in Texas, the police will often have witnesses identify the suspect in a lineup. Lineups comprise the suspect in custody as well as volunteers. Sometimes, problems might arise with this procedure.
Potential police lineup issues
One problem that might arise with a police lineup is that officers might deliberately or accidentally give witnesses signals to identify a suspect. Sometimes, people in the lineup may look similar, but there are times when they don’t look anything like the suspect and don’t match the description given by witnesses.
Another problem that can occur with police lineups is that the witness is pressured into picking someone. When that happens, they might compare the individuals in the lineup to one another instead of relying on their memory of the suspect’s appearance. Either of these scenarios could end up with the wrong person being implicated.
Even if the police don’t give out hints to eyewitnesses, there are other problems that can occur with lineups. If a witness picks a person from a lineup, the police have no way of knowing that witness’ confidence level in making that choice. This is because there is no specific method for seeing whether the witness might be correct or uncertain.
Witnesses might also have certain biases due to media reports. This could taint their ability to choose someone from a lineup.
The rights of criminal suspects
While in police custody, criminal suspects have certain rights. They have the right to freedom from suggestion, which refers to misidentification. Sometimes, it’s obvious that a person is not the person they are looking for; for example, the individual is of a different race or age. However, in other cases, the differences could be subtle.
People in police lineups might run into problems with misidentification. These issues require help to secure the individual’s freedom and rights.