April 23, 2006

Absurd lineup process used:

ABC News reports:

According to the police report, the alleged victim was shown a police lineup of 46 photos individually depicting all the Duke lacrosse team members except for freshman goalie Devon Sherwood, the only black member of the team. He was excluded because the alleged victim told police her attackers were white...

However, an eyewitness identification expert believes the police lineup procedure was flawed because no non-lacrosse players were included. Gary Wells, president of the American Psychology-Law Society, described it as "a multiple-choice test without any wrong answers."

By including "fillers," or non-suspects, in a police lineup, an accuser has to pick past the filler to choose people who actually might have committed the crime. "Without fillers as a control, the process has no internal credibility check," Wells said.

David Rudolf, a North Carolina defense lawyer who has been an adjunct professor at Duke and the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, believes the procedures may be problematic to the point of being inadmissible in court. "I have significant doubt that this will be admitted in court," he said, "and no doubt defense will challenge it vigorously."

The issue, Rudolf explains, is that due process prohibits evidence from lineups that are unnecessarily suggestive and conducive to mistaken identity. "When you take the only suspect group and put it in front of the victim," Rudolf says, "by definition you're suggesting it was one of the 46 people in that group."

My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer

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