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Columbus, OH 614-360-2942
Huntington, WV 304-519-4354
New Albany, OH 614-721-7726
Toll Free   888-641-0805

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Police lineups in Ohio can sometimes be flawed

On Behalf of | Sep 6, 2022 | Criminal Defense |

According to a recent study, eyewitness identification contributed to 75% of wrongful convictions made in the case study area in New York. Therefore, Ohio courts have established strict guidelines that police and prosecutors must use before admitting eyewitness testimony into evidence.

How police lineups work in Ohio

A police lineup is usually conducted after a witness to a crime has come forward and provided a description of the perpetrator. The police will then find individuals who fit the description given and line them up, one by one, for the witness to see. In some cases, the lineup may be conducted in person, while in other instances, it may be done via photo array or live lineup.

There are two types of police lineups: simultaneous and sequential. In a simultaneous lineup, all six members stand side-by-side so the witness can view them at once. With sequential lineups, each member is presented to the witness one at a time.

Potential problems with police lineups

Despite these safeguards, potential problems can still occur during a police lineup, leading to incorrect identification. For example, if there is only one person in the lineup who matches the description given by the witness, that individual is more likely to be identified, even if they are not the real perpetrator. This is known as the “single-person lineup problem,” and it can be mitigated by including fillers that also match the description in the lineup.

Another potential issue is when the police officer conducting the lineup gives cues to the witness about whom they should select. This could be done unintentionally through body language or verbal cues. For example, if the officer says, “this is our guy,” while presenting a particular individual in the lineup, that could influence the witness’ decision.

Finally, there is always the possibility of human error. Witnesses may misremember what the perpetrator looked like or mistakenly identify someone who just happens to resemble the culprit. This is why it’s important for criminal defense attorneys to thoroughly investigate police lineups and challenge any identification that may be made.

You should know that you have the right to an attorney if you are suspected of a crime and asked to do a police lineup. If your attorney was not present during the lineup, you could seek to have the results dismissed in Ohio court.

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