Building a Better Lineup

A new ID parade plan shows suspects one-by-one, rather than in a row

THE VENERABLE POLICE lineup, in which half a dozen or more suspects are presented side by side for eyewitnesses to choose from, may soon find itself on death row. Minnesota's Hennepin County has released some of the country's first hard data on the new "sequential lineup" that Minneapolis and three of its suburbs have been testing since late 2003. Rather than lining up suspects next to one another, Minnesota police have been showing them to eyewitnesses one by one. The report claims that sequential lineups have reduced incorrect identifications--which average between 20% and 25% in traditional lineups--to 14%.

Viewing suspects individually...

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