In an editorial today, the News & Observer inadvertently points to one of the most comical assertions made by
Police had conducted several lineups that did follow the department's policy on photo identifications. In those, Mangum didn't identify any suspects.
In his report that wasn't, Chalmers writes:
By the afternoon of March 16, 2006, investigators had received information that the house in which the alleged attack had occurred was rented by members of the Duke University lacrosse team; that the party during which the incident is alleged to have occurred was attended by some such members; and Crystal Mangum had alleged to the police that the names of her attackers were “Brett”, “Adam” and “Matt.” An investigator with the Durham Police Department obtained a CD from the Duke University Police Department containing
lacrosse team member photographs with corresponding names. There was only one lacrosse team member with the name of “Brett,” one team member with the similar sounding name of “Breck,” and one team member with the name of “Adam.” Three lacrosse team members had the name of “Matt.” Therefore, at this point in time, investigators focused upon the individual named “Matt” who was an actual tenant of the home in which the alleged attack occurred believing that it was most logical that particular “Matt” would have been present at the residence during the party. Duke University
Consequently, four photo arrays were shown to Mangum in the hopes that she would be able to identify her alleged attackers. Each array contained a photo of one of the individuals considered a potential suspect in the arrays so that: one array contained a photo of “Brett;” one array contained a photo of “Breck;” one array contained a photo of “Adam;” and one array contained a photo of the particular “Matt” described above.
Consistent with Durham Police Department General Order 4077 Eyewitness Identification:
· Mangum was not shown the photo arrays in the presence of any other potential witnesses;
· The photo arrays were presented to Mangum by an independent administrator i.e. an officer who did not know which person in each of the photo arrays was considered the suspect in the array;
· Five fillers were used per suspect photo. Photos of
lacrosse team members identified as persons other than “Brett,” “Breck,” “Adam” or the “Matt” described above were selected; Duke University
· The fillers selected resembled the suspect in each of the arrays in significant features such as race, gender, facial features and weight. In addition, using other team photos so that persons in the entire array were similarly dressed, as opposed to, for example, attempting to obtain other college lacrosse team photographs, could help to ensure that suspicion was not improperly focused upon the suspect photo who appeared dressed in dark blue, a color which might be associated with Duke University;
· Different fillers were used in each of the four arrays;
· Photographs were presented sequentially;
· Mangum was given standard verbal instructions for each array which included advising her that the photograph of the person who committed the crime may or may not be included in the particular array.Mangum did not identify her alleged attackers from the arrays presented to her that day.
In the most general terms, a lineup is structured so that a suspect is embedded among nonsuspects. We will call these nonsuspects fillers.1 In some eyewitness identification writings, fillers are known as foils or distractors. In an episode of Seinfeld, fillers were called decoys. We prefer the term fillers because this appears to be the most common term used by law enforcement in the
, and it seems rather neutral ( foils, for instance, seems to imply that their purpose is to fool the witness). Whatever they are called, the important thing about fillers is that they are not suspects, but rather are known innocents. Accordingly, any identification of a filler by an eyewitness is a known error that would not result in charges against that person. United States