Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts in Criminal Justice (MACJ)


Criminal Justice, Criminology, & Forensics

First Advisor

Matthew Hickman

Second Advisor

Elaine Gunnison

Third Advisor

Geoffrey Loftus


Annually, mistaken identifications lead to thousands of wrongful convictions and missed opportunities to catch guilty persons. Researchers rely on decades of exploration to recommend identification procedures to law enforcement. Several jurisdictions have recently standardized identification procedures.

This descriptive research investigated two photographic line-up variables: whether witnesses viewed photographs sequentially or simultaneously, and was the presentation singleor double-blind. Researchers agree lineups should be administered double-blind to decrease administrator influence. Experts debate the sequential format; mistaken identifications are decreased, as are correct identifications. Many experts recommend the sequential format.

This study mailed 1016 law enforcement agencies employing 100 or more officers a survey requesting response from someone who conducts identification procedures. Survey questions sought to identify the authority governing identification procedures, and whether officers followed those policies.

The respondents reported using single blind presentations 60% of the time and simultaneous formats 61% of the time. Twenty percent reported state regulations established lineup procedures, while approximately 36% reported the administrator made procedure decisions. Results disclosed a lack of knowledge about presentation methodologies and an interest in education; several requested copies of the final paper. These results demonstrate the need for more education and training for policymakers and law enforcement conducting lineup procedures.