That “Usual Suspects” type of police lineup will soon be a thing of the past in San Francisco, as SFPD officers are hoping to adopt a new suspect identification process they believe will reduce misidentifications.
As the Ex reports, the traditional lineup policy currently in place has witness choose from “six-packs” of photos of suspects or physical lineups. Some say that that method is flawed, as it causes witnesses to compare people, not rely on their memory of the suspect.
They intend to replace this old policy of lineups and photo spreads with a new policy of presenting potential suspects consecutively to witnesses rather than all at once.
Police Chief Greg Suhr told the SF Police Commission that with the new policy, “the chances for a false positive on an identification go down dramatically, it’s been shown in studies, and we believe eventually that’s going to be the standard across the state.”
Says Public Defender Jeff Adachi to the Ex, “As a defense attorney, I’ve seen misidentifications occur frequently. It’s unfortunate, because often it’s a flaw in the identification procedure that’s to blame.”
The process of “cold shows” in which a detained and handcuffed suspect is shown to a witness for identification at a crime scene will remain the same.