Eyewitness Testimony & Police Lineups: Have Your Voice Heard

Texas is trying to develop a model statewide policy on eyewitness testimony and the use of police lineups -- like, you know, the cop in charge can't point out a suspect to the witness with his eyes and subtle pointing, that kind of thing.

And they want your input.

The Bill Blackwood Law Enforcement Management Institute of Texas is charged with developing the policy; they have a draft online.

Among the proposed new elements:

-- Witnesses should be provided with clear instructions, including a statement to indicate that the perpetrator may or may not be in the photo or live lineup. -- The person administering the lineup should not know who the suspect is or should use a procedure that ensures the administrator can not give subtle cues to the witness. -- Lineup administrators should thoroughly document the lineup procedures used and the outcomes.

"The proposed policy is based on scientific research in the field and was developed in collaboration with law enforcement agencies and special interest organizations across Texas," the group says.

If you want to e-mail your comments and suggestions on the policy, the address to use is lemitresearch@shsu.edu.

"LEMIT has been entrusted with the development of the model eyewitness identification policy and that development includes getting comment from the public," said Dr. Rita Watkins, executive director of LEMIT. "It is important the citizens of Texas be afforded the opportunity to review and provide feedback on this important policy."

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