A lineup is one of the tools that the police might use during their investigation. Four or five people usually accompany a suspect during a lineup. These people, called fillers, typically resemble the suspect and are present to test the accuracy of the eyewitness’s recollection.
Suspects who take part in a lineup typically have the following rights.
Suspects have the right to legal counsel even before they go to trial. When present during the lineup, a lawyer can help ensure that the procedure is free from bias and does not violate the suspect’s other rights. Denying a suspect’s right to counsel might make the court consider the lineup’s outcomes inadmissible.
A suspect may generally request the court to suppress the lineup results if there is any violation in how law enforcement carried out the procedure. A lawyer present during the lineup can help identify and verify such violations.
Freedom from misidentification
When setting up the lineup, law enforcement cannot increase the likelihood of the eyewitness immediately singling out the suspect. For instance, they cannot put a male suspect alongside female fillers when the eyewitness’s report before the lineup identifies someone male.
Freedom from suggestion
To make the lineup as fair as possible, law enforcement should generally avoid suggestive behaviors that might pressure or coerce witnesses to identify a specific person.
Being part of a lineup can be a stressful experience. Understanding the law and ensuring you have someone on your side overseeing the process can help ensure that the procedure does not violate your legal rights.