Saturday, August 22, 2009

Dallas PD moves to sequential, blind lineups

Though legislation that would have required similar changes in eyewitness ID policies at all Texas police agencies died in the end-of-session meltdown in the House of Representatives, the Dallas Police Department is moving ahead with a "sequential blind" lineup for photo arrays shown to witness. Reports AP:
Frustrated with a string of wrongful convictions, the Dallas police department is now the nation's largest force to use sequential blind photo lineups — a widely praised technique designed to reduce mistakes made by witnesses trying to identify suspects.

Dallas is not the first department to use the pioneering method. But experts hope that by using it in the county that leads the nation in exonerating wrongly convicted inmates, Dallas will inspire other departments to follow suit.

"If Dallas can do it ... then others are going to rise to the occasion," said Iowa State psychology professor Gary Wells, a national expert on police lineups.

The department switched to sequential blind lineups in April. Before that, Dallas police administered most lineups using the traditional six-pack — law-enforcement lingo for mounting six photos onto a folder and showing them to a witness or victim at the same time.

In sequential blind lineups, mug shots are shown one at a time. Detectives displaying the photos also don't know who the suspect is, which means they can't purposely or accidentally tip off witnesses.
If Dallas can do this voluntarily, so should other Texas departments. With luck, the Legislature will pass the legislation in 2011 requiring such legislation like the bill that died amidst partisan bickering on voter ID this spring.


Anonymous said...

Houston PD been doing this for years.It is one of three that I seen them do.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

I don't believe that's accurate, 6:42. The Justice Project did a survey of departments about their lineup policies and I'm pretty sure they would have picked that up.

Anonymous said...

Houston PD does do "blind lineups." They blindfold the witness and have them pick somebody. Anybody.

Anonymous said...

I am a law enforcement officer that works for a state agency that has recently worked an "officer misconduct" case on police officers in Houston. I can confirm that they do use the blind line up because they asked me to do it because I did not know who the suspects were.

So Scott, this may surprise you but the federal government screws up all of the time.

If you don't believe me, call them and ask or look at some open records of convictions that HPD has obtained with the assistance of photo line ups.

Oh yeah, very funny 08/23/2009 07:44 a.m.