Criminal Defense Attorneys Question New Strategy for Police Lineups

Illinois criminal defense attorneys sued to get a report critical of a new strategy for criminal lineups being used by several police departments in the state.

The usual method for a lineup presents a witness with several potential perpetrators of a crime, including the defendant, at the same time. The police officers involved know which person is the defendant. According to Northwestern Law School Professor, Locke Bowman, this older method has produced many disastrous wrongful convictions. The new strategy is a blind lineup. The witness is presented with one potential suspect at a time and the officers supervising the lineup are not told which is the defendant.

While expected to be a great improvement over the old method, a report submitted to the Illinois legislature allegedly criticized this newer method. The MacArthur Justice Center at Northwestern has filed suit to obtain the data used to compile the report.


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