Suppose the police suspect a person of a crime, but have not yet charged him. AIUI, they cannot legally require this person to provide fingerprints or a DNA sample without a warrant (though they may trick him into doing so, e.g. by providing a cup of coffee during voluntary questioning, upon which the person unwittingly leaves both identifiers).
Without a warrant, and without charges, can they legally compel this person to stand in a lineup for an eyewitness to identify? Or must the same sort of trickery occur, e.g. by taking a surreptitious photograph of the person that can later be shown to an eyewitness?
In Ohio, no, you cannot be compelled to take part in a lineup if you have not been charged. Most lineups these days are done with photos and not in person, Hollywood-style, IME. The photos are from previous bookings of the suspect and other similar-looking individuals. I don’t know what is done if the suspect has never been booked before, but have never heard of surreptitious photos being taken of a suspect for that purpose.
If you are already under arrest, you can be forced into a lineup. If you are not under arrest, the police need a warrant or court order to compel you to participate in a lineup. In either case, you are entitled to have a lawyer watch the lineup to see things like whether the witness was coached or the lineup was biased (e.g six midgets and your six-foot-tall client).
Police mostly use photo arrays now. Typically they will use photos from prior arrests. If they don’t have a prior arrest photo, they can just take a picture of the suspect. The easiest way to get a picture is to talk with him in a voluntary encounter. That is, approach him wherever he is and strike up a conversation. He can leave if he wants but most people don’t run from the police covering their faces. During the conversation, a cop’s partner will surreptitiously photograph him. At the end of the conversation, they will ask the suspect to pose for a photo. If he says yes, they will use that one. If he says no, they will either take another picture anyway because they don’t need his permission or they will use the pictures they took secretly.
I was involved in a case where police surreptitiously photographed a 17-year-old kid outdoors against a black wall during such an encounter and presented this photo in a simultaneous array with seven other booking photos taken indoors in front of height markers. It was obvious which one of these things was not like the others. You didn’t ever have to see the suspect to know which one of the photos you were supposed to pick. Most agencies are using better photo lineup procedures now.
For GQ there seems to be an awful lot of bad guesses by people who obviously have no direct knowledge of the subject.
I’m sure it exists but in 20 years of law enforcement I have never seen a line up or even a place where a line up could be given. For as long as I can remember only photo arrays can be used in my state.
There are very specific guidelines which are handed down from the Attorney Generals office. All the photos have to be similar with the same background. There is no taking a picture on the street and then 5 mug shots. Each subject has to have a similar look. If the suspect is a white guy in his 50s all the pictures are of white guys in their 50s. If the suspect is a black guy with a beard they are all black with beards. When the test is administered it has to be given by a neutral officer. He can’t be involved in the investigation or know which photograph is the suspect. For instance we often use our training lieutenant who is never involved in investigations.
A long time ago (more than 20 years ago, more like 30), two detectives approached me and asked me to stand in a lineup. This was in a large subway station that had its own police quarters.
I kind of wanted to do it, but I was (a) late for something and (b) suspicious of the whole thing. Why me? What if someone mistook me for whoever had committed whatever the crime was? Would I be arrested? Was this just a ploy, because they had a description of someone who had snatched a purse or something that kind of fit me?
So I didn’t do it.
That’s the sum total of my experience with police lineups.
That sounds like a really good idea. I think police laboratory tests should be the same way - there should be just sample numbers, and some of the samples are control samples. A laboratory tech should not know which gun they are supposed to match to which bullet or which shoe to which footprint the police need to convict.