In addition to devastating the lives of the wrongly convicted,
false identification can mean real criminals go free. So kudos to
Baltimore police and prosecutors for admitting
past mistakes and taking steps to ensure they won’t happen
Baltimore joins just a handful of cities across the country that
conduct sequential double-blind lineups. Even though there is
overwhelming evidence that the practice reduces error, police
associations and district attorneys often oppose attempts to adopt
double-blind lineups. In California, for instance, former Governor
Arnold Schwarzenegger vetoed lineup reforms after law enforcement agencies objected.
Yep. Because cops and prosecutors are in the business of getting convictions, not actually catching guilty criminals.
This is a consequence of the Sixth Amendment:
In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defence.[note 1]
The Framers did not plan for a criminal class numbering in the millions, in part thanks to the vast growth of the Legal State, in which every American commits at least one felony a day.
There is no way a “justice system” comprised of human beings can possibly offer every one of the accused a jury trial with all the trimmings. So defendants are bludgeoned by various means into accepting plea bargains specifically designed to avoid the requirements of the Sixth.
And one of the bludgeons used is that cops and prosecutors encourage false identifications in order to convince defendants they have no options other than to submit to whatever plea deal is offered to them.