Police lineups are widely used despite evidence that eyewitnesses frequently err by failing to identify the culprit or mistakenly identifying innocent suspects or lineup fillers. We examine how police investigators, prosecutors, defense attorneys, and judges interpret the information witnesses provide when confronted with a traditional lineup and describe one alternative procedure that departs significantly from current practice. This alternative abandons the categorical witness decision, replacing it with confidence judgments about each lineup member's match to memory for the culprit. Compared with the traditional lineup, this approach provides more nuanced information about suspect guilt. We challenge criminal justice researchers and professionals to examine the potential informational gains this approach offers—and to explore other genuine alternatives—rather than merely tinkering with the existing approach. Finally, we emphasize that a truly collaborative engagement with justice system professionals will be more productive than researchers being the sole arbiters of model practices.
|Number of pages||16|
|Journal||Journal of Applied Research in Memory and Cognition|
|Early online date||13 Feb 2021|
|Publication status||Published - Jun 2021|
- Police lineups
- Eyewitness identification
- Probability of guilt