A photo lineup is a procedure used by law enforcers wherein photographs are presented to the victim or witness of a crime to identify a suspect. According to the Office of Justice programs, the procedure for conducting a photo lineup should be as follows:
- Only one photo of the suspect should be included in the lineup.
- The photos of the fillers in the lineup must fit the general description of the perpetrator as described by the witness.
- If the suspect has several photos available, the photo that should be included is that which is nearest to his appearance during the incident.
- A minimum of five fillers or non suspects must be included in the lineup.
- Fillers who bare a close resemblance to the suspect must be avoided so that the witness will not find it difficult to identify the suspect.
- If the suspect has any unique or unusual feature, the fillers that must be included should have a consistent appearance with regards to the distinct feature.
- For multiple witnesses, the photo of the suspect should be randomly positioned in the lineup.
- In presenting new suspects, photos of fillers should not be reused.
- There should be no visible markings on the photographs.
- The suspect should not stand out in the lineup presented.
- The order of the presentation of the photo lineup should be retained, and the photographs must be preserved.
Composite sketches are “facial sketches created using software kits which allow the operator to select various facial components”. Most law enforcement agencies use composite sketches because it is more affordable than forensic sketches (Klum et al., 2011). A composite sketch can be very valuable if a witness has a good memory of the suspect. Its value also lies in the fact that it may lead to the elimination of suspects; thus, time and money are not wasted on interrogations and in pursuing alibis. Composite sketches are valuable because it could help generate leads since it is media friendly and the public may get involved. It could easily be circulated through fax or email. Composite sketches are useful in uncovering additional details and information. Furthermore, it allows for more flexibility than forensic sketches because it is easier and faster to create multiple versions of a particular drawing.
Farlex, Inc. (2014). Photo lineup. Retrieved from legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com: http://legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/Photo+Lineup
Forensicartist.com. (n.d.). Composite drawing. Retrieved from forensicartist.com: http://www.forensicartist.com/composite.html
Klum, S., Hu, H., Jain, A. K., & Klare, B. (2011). Sketch based face recognition: Forensic vs. composite sketches. Retrieved from cse.msu.edu: http://www.cse.msu.edu/biometrics/Publications/Face/KlumHanJainKlare_FaceSketchRecognition_ForensicvsComposite_ICB13.pdf
LeadsOnline LLC. (2014). Sketches. Retrieved from leadsonline.com: http://www.leadsonline.com/main/leadsonline-sketches/common-questions.php
U.S. Department of Justice. (1999, October). Eyewitness evidence - A guide for law enforcement. Retrieved from ncjrs.gov: https://www.ncjrs.gov/pdffiles1/nij/178240.pdf