Radical Alternatives to Traditional Lineups

Authored by: Paul R. Dupuis , R. C. L. Lindsay

Handbook of Eyewitness Psychology

Print publication date:  October  2006
Online publication date:  May  2014

Print ISBN: 9780805881073
eBook ISBN: 9781315805535
Adobe ISBN: 9781317777830


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Eyewitnesses often provide descriptions of perpetrators (Schooler, Meissner, & Sporer, this volume), create composite pictures (Davies & Valentine, this volume), and examine mug shots (McAllister, this volume) to assist police in finding suspects. Usually, an arrested suspect will be at least somewhat similar to the description given by an eyewitness. Despite matching the witness’s description of the criminal, the suspect may be guilty or not guilty. Thus, when a suspect is found, the eyewitness often will be presented with a lineup to see if the witness will select the suspect. Selection from a lineup is viewed as evidence of guilt, frequently leading to further investigation, charges, prosecution, conviction, and incarceration. (Note: We use the term selected rather than identified because selected is neutral with regard to guilt. Witnesses clearly select lineup members. The term identification implies identity between the suspect and criminal and thus contains an inappropriate, linguistic presumption of guilt.)

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