Centuries ago when forensic science was not an established application to police investigations, eyewitness testimonies were the go-to method for collecting the facts of the crime. Nowadays, eyewitness accounts are not reliable for many reasons, one being that police may lead, intentionally or unintentionally, eyewitnesses towards a certain suspect. The criminal lineup process is an instrumental part of identifying criminals. An honest and thorough procedure of the visual account needs to be encouraged amongst investigators.
For this reason, the House of Representatives passed a bill on May 1, 2012, changing police conduct during criminal lineups to improve eyewitness reliability. The bill is based on scientific studies done on how to improve the criminal lineup process.
During a typical criminal lineup process, either done with a one-way mirror or in a book of photographs, a suspect along with “fillers” are presented to the eyewitness.
Scientific studies were done to improve the eyewitness reliability. The modifications include using a sequential lineup which is when the eyewitness will look at one picture at a time. This reduces the number of times an eyewitness would incorrectly identify by 22%.
At this point, the bill will be reviewed by the Senate.