We have grown accustomed to seeing police line-ups on TV and in movies. The victim or a witness looks at a series of suspects, often ones who look similar to each other, either live or in pictures, and tries to identify the individual that he or she saw at the crime scene. Identifying a suspect in a lineup can be persuasive to a prosecutor in deciding whether to press charges, and certainly, highly persuasive to a criminal jury. However, line-ups are not always reliable.
Lineups Can Be Inaccurate
Line-ups have been the subject of much criticism. In many cases, those who witness or are victims of crimes have endured stressful situations in which their powers of observation may be compromised. Many crimes may occur at night, when visibility is poor.