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Senate passes bill to create lineup policies

Posted on March 17th, 2011 No Comments

Yesterday, members of the Senate voted 30-0 to pass a bill that would create policies for police departments in Texas concerning how to conduct a criminal lineup.  The bill will now go on to the House to be considered.

The bill, created by Senator Rodney Ellis, D-Houston, would create written policies concerning both photo identification lineups and live lineups.  If approved, experts at Sam Houston State University will work together with several police departments in Texas to determine the best policies for instructions given to witnesses before viewing lineups, how to handle non-English speaking witnesses or suspects in lineups, ensuring that the lineup administrator does not know which individual is the suspect, and documentation of statements from witnesses.

Only about 12 percent of Texas law enforcement agencies currently have policies written concerning how to conduct lineups.  “Eyewitness reform is a very simple, straightforward change to help create a smarter, more just system,” said Ellis.

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