Can the police legally compel you to stand in a lineup?

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?

Do they still, in this time of electronic communication, still drag citizens in off the street to stand in a lineup?

AFIK, it was always voluntary and in some places you got paid.

Interested in this answer… somehow I assumed it was something that usually happened after they had probable cause for arrest but were still building the case?

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.

They usually don’t need a lineup. If you are under suspicion, and already in the system, they can just show your photo to someone.

I was wondering about whether the suspected individual can be made to stand in a lineup.

I can’t imagine volunteering to stand in a lineup as one of the decoys, paid or not. If the eyewitness mistakenly identifies you as the perp, well, I hope the paycheck was worth it. :smiley:

This kinda dodges my question. What if you’re not already in the system, i.e. the police have no photo of you? Can they make you stand in a lineup, or not?

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.

And the police have a way of subtly indicating which person it is they want the witness to pick.

In my jurisdiction there is a line up room at the county jail just up stairs from intake. Arrestees waiting for change over (getting their orange garb) are routinely used in the line ups.

But photograph line ups are also used.

In Ohio, they’re not supposed to, and if they do, that can become an issue in any later trial: Section 2933.83 - Ohio Revised Code | Ohio Laws

Lineups are used to judge the reliability of the witness’s recollection moreso than to finger whodunit.

If the witness points to someone who’s not the suspect, then they figure their memory wasn’t really good and so they don’t go forward with it.

Police lineups are notoriously unfair.

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.

Here’s my direct knowledge:

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.

You mean like edging the suspect’s photo closer to the witness while winking?

Exactly - if you’re pretty sure the witness can ID the actual perp, why risk having the ID (and hence a key part of the case) tossed by faulty procedure?