Satisfactory Essays
Photographic line-ups are one of the leading ways for law enforcement to solve cold cases when witnesses have had a full or partial observation of a possible suspect. However, these line-ups seldom will result in criminal prosecution due to the large percent of witnesses’ eyewitness accounts being wrong. Although for a common person, who has little experience in law enforcement, they come to the belief that most crimes could easily be solved if more people would in fact take it upon their constitution duty to report a crime and assist law enforcement in determining the subjects responsible for the criminal acts. However, as we have seen through various court cases, eye witness accounts hold very little effect on persuading the jury of ones guilt. In fact we have seen more cases portrayed in the media where a suspect was incarcerated for a number of years, only to year of their innocent’s through DNA forensic analysis. So what makes eye witness accounts and photo line-ups less evidence worthy than DNA?

Photo line-ups have caused many defendants to be freed due to procedural violations. Such was the case of Michael Longman who was charged with driving a getaway car after a theft of a tire store in Regina Canada. On December 5, 2012 a security guard observed a silver Chevrolet Monte Carlo speeding away from the tire store and was able to get a good visual observation of the driver. Regina Police developed a photo line-up consisting of nine individuals, one of which was the suspect. The security guard was able to pick the suspect out of the photo line-up which resulted in the arrest and prosecution of Longman.

However, during the suppression hearing a judge found several issues with the photo line-up. In which resulted in the disqu...

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...up in which the picture used of the suspect was both suggestive and portrayed the suspect in a negative fashion in which altered the person in which the witness may have picked from the array. (Case Briefs, 1977). As stated above, one problem law enforcement commonly has is finding photographs that are common with the suspect in which they are trying to get an identification of.
The courts have held, as in the case of United States v. Ash, that the defendant does not have a right to council at the during the photo lineup. Not until the time as the defendant is formally charged does the court have to grant the right of council for the defendant. In the case of United States vs. Ash, it was upheld that the photo lineup used in his criminal trial did not tarnish his Sixth Amendment Rights as his right to council was not denied at the photo lineup. (Casebriefs, 1973).
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