Who stole the hot dogs? Who knocked over the vase? Who chased the neighbor's cat up a tree? Who bit the mailman? Who humped the boss's leg? Where is the missing slipper? Who slobbered up the furniture? Whose muddy paw prints are all over the new carpet? Who left the "gift" in the living room?
Whenever there is a crime, the usual suspects are brought in for a line up.
Photography by Edward M. Fielding
Dogford Studios Etna, NH
A police lineup (in American English) or identity parade (in British English) is a process by which a crime victim or witness's putative identification of a suspect is confirmed to a level that can count as evidence at trial.
The suspect, along with several "fillers" or "foils"—people of similar height, build, and complexion who may be prisoners, actors or volunteers—stand side-by-side, both facing and in profile. The lineup sometimes takes place in a room for the purpose, one which may feature a one-way mirror to allow a witness to remain anonymous, and may include markings on the wall to aid identifying the person's height.
For evidence from a lineup to be admissible in court, the lineup itself must be conducted fairly. The police may not say or do anything that persuades the witness to identify the suspect that they prefer. This includes loading the lineup with people who look very dissimilar to the suspect.
October 22nd, 2012
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