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Hastings Law Journal

Abstract

Eyewitness identifications play an important role in the criminal justice system. However, the procedures surrounding these identifications are fraught with potential for error, and the Supreme Court has recognized the "vagaries of eyewitness identification." Over the past thirty years, researchers have established a considerable body of evidence demonstrating that simultaneous lineup procedures result in greater error than sequential lineups. Nevertheless, most law enforcement agencies persist in utilizing the simultaneous lineup procedure. This Note argues that the Due Process Clause mandates the implementation of sequential lineups on the basis of both a moral and an historical reading of the phrase "due process." Although this Note ultimately concludes that the Supreme Court's current approach to scientific evidence virtually precludes a holding along the lines suggested herein, it urges courts not to shrink from their task of giving the people the process they are due.

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