When someone becomes a victim of a crime in Louisiana, the police may arrest a suspect. If the victim does not know the alleged perpetrator, the accused person may join others in a police lineup. A problematic outcome may involve the victim identifying the wrong person, leaving an innocent person to face criminal charges.
Issues with police lineups
A problem with police lineups is that the victim or eyewitness could make a mistake. Not everyone gets a clear view of an alleged perpetrator. For example, a robbery victim could suffer a blow from behind and only catch a fleeting glimpse of a fleeing suspect. An eyewitness might watch a crime unfold from a distance, which could make clarity challenging. The weather and low-light situations may do the same.
Sometimes, there will be police officers in the lineup. Their presence could narrow down the selection to fewer suspects, increasing the chances the victim may decide to randomly pick the actual perpetrator or someone who looks more like the perpetrator.
Law enforcement officials could coerce a victim or witness to choose a particular person from the lineup. Flawed instructions given by the police may also lead to someone facing false charges. Now, an innocent person becomes a defendant in the criminal justice system.
Dealing with the charges
A strategy for criminal defense in Louisiana might focus on raising reasonable doubts. Pointing out procedural problems or improprieties in the lineup might raise such doubts. In some cases, the defense may reveal a law enforcement official’s illegal behaviors, which might lead to a motion to suppress evidence.
A defendant might have an alibi that further establishes they were falsely identified. Ultimately, there could be several ways to deal with police lineup improprieties.