In forensic psychology, the double-blind lineup is the lineup procedure whereby both the lineup administrator and the witness are not aware of the lineup member the suspect is being investigated (Kovera & Evelo, 2017). In cases where live or photo lineup is administered to an eyewitness, the police officer administering the lineup is most likely to be aware of the identity of the suspect. In this case, it is referred to as a single-blind lineup since the witness is not aware of the suspect, but the police officer is aware of the same. The use of single-blind lineup is not effective since there are concerns raised by psycholegal researchers that it might lead to the administrator unconsciously or consciously emitting cues to the witness hence influencing his/her choice.
The criminal justice system should with no doubt pursue the use of double-blind lineups. Lineups can be viewed as research experiment whereby the lineup administrator is like the experimenter. Like in the case of the experiment analogy, the lineup consists of the police who have the hypothesis that is being tested, and the hypothesis is that the suspect is the criminal. Materials or lineups are created for testing this hypothesis. Data is collected by the lineup administrator for testing the hypothesis (the suspect is the criminal), and this is done by administering the materials or the lineup to the witness. The results obtained from the witness are then analyzed to see if they are in support of the hypothesis that the suspect is the perpetrator. It is critical to note that in cases or lineups where the lineup administrator knows the lineup member which the suspect is, then the test hypothesis is most likely to be susceptible to bias. The potential biases may not be deliberate or intentional, but the fact that the experimenters are aware of their study's hypothesis exposes the entire study to biases due to the unconscious influence of the participant's behavior. This justifies the reason why the criminal justice system should use the double-blind lineup system where neither the lineup administrator nor the eyewitness knows the lineup member the suspect is in. The usefulness of double-blind lineup administration has been recognized by many jurisdictions in Europe and the United States. An interdisciplinary committee known as the Technical Working Group for Eyewitness Evidence identified double-blind lineup administration to be worth considering (Rodriguez & Berry, 2012). The single-blind lineup should be avoided by the criminal justice system as it destroys the eyewitness retrospective reports, steers the decision of the witness towards the suspect identification, and alter the records of lineup outcomes (Rodriguez & Berry, 2012). Double-blind lineup, therefore, remains to be the most suitable administration that can be pursued by the criminal justice system.
The idea of the double-blind lineup is backed up by several research both in the field of forensic psychology, eyewitness science, criminology, and psycholegal studies. Several psycholegal researchers have provided the evidence on the possible biases caused by the single-blind lineup, and hence supported the idea of using the double-blind lineup administration. According to Kovera and Evelo (2017), administrators aware of the identity of the suspect and presented to the eyewitness simultaneous lineups produced more mistaken identifications compared to administrators having no direct contact with the witness. The support for the double-blind lineup is, therefore, an aggregate of its benefits and the demerits of the single-blind lineup administration system.
Kovera, M. B., & Evelo, A. J. (2017). The case for double-blind lineup administration. Psychology, Public Policy, and Law, 23(4), 421. https://psychology.iresearchnet.com/forensic-psychology/eyewitness-memory/double-blind-lineups/
Rodriguez, D. N., & Berry, M. A. (2012). Eyewitness science and the call for double-blind lineup administration. Journal of Criminology, 2013. https://scholar.google.com/scholar_url?url=http://downloads.hindawi.com/journals/jcri/2013/530523.pdf&hl=en&sa=T&oi=gsb-ggp&ct=res&cd=0&d=13780685982333404254&ei=E3ijXba7BMemmAGt8LvwAg&scisig=AAGBfm0oK-yRJ5sQzq0fOjvG1RK1UE6_hg
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