California Law on Photographic Lineups
In many criminal cases, the District Attorney will attempt to admit
at trial, identification testimony from a witness to a crime, who has
made an out-of-court identification of the defendant. Typically, the
testimony culminates in the witness pointing to the defendant in
court and identifying him or her as the perpetrator. In Long Beach,
the defendant in a criminal case may challenge the admission of
this testimony, claiming that the in-court identification was in fact
the result of a suggestive, prior, out-of-court identification,
orchestrated by law enforcement. The Fourteenth Amendment
provides that no person shall lose his or her life, liberty or property
without due process of law. The “Due Process Clause” protects a
suspect from police identification procedures that are so
impermissibly suggestive as to create a very substantial likelihood
of irreparable misidentification.

A criminal defendant can challenge an identification by raising the
issue of impermissible suggestiveness. The suspect bears the
burden of showing that the identification procedure used was
unreliable. If the requisite showing is made, a hearing will be held,
after which the judge will make a ruling regarding the admissibility
of testimony concerning the identification. To determine which
practices are so unfairly suggestive as to deprive a suspect of
Due Process, a court looks to the totality of the circumstances
surrounding the out-of-court identification. A
Long Beach criminal
defense attorney can file a motion to have illegally obtained or
tainted evidence suppressed or "thrown out" in Court.

For example, in the case of Grant v. City of Long Beach, 315 F.3d
1081 (2002),  (9th Cir. 2003), an array of six photos (a “six-pack”)
was determined to be unduly suggestive when a white suspect
was pictured with five Hispanic males; the suspect’s face
appeared long and narrow while the other five men pictured had
rounder, fuller faces; and the suspect’s skin tone was significantly
lighter than four of the other five men.

At a minimum, the police officer conducting the photographic line
up should read the victim/witness an admonition as follows:

" In a moment, I will show you a number of photographs one at a
time.  You may take as much time as you need to look at each one
of them.  You should not conclude that the person who committed
the crime is in the group merely because a group of photographs
is being shown to you.  The person who committed the crime may
or may not be in the group, and the mere display of the
photographs is not meant to suggest that our office believes the
person who committed the crime is in one of the photographs.  
You are absolutely not required to choose any of the photographs,
and you should feel not obligated to choose any one.  The
photographs will be shown to you in random order.  I am not in
any way trying to influence your decision by the order of the
pictures presented.  Tell me immediately if you recognize the
person that committed the crime in one of the photographs.  All of
the photographs will be shown to you even if you select a

Please keep in mind that hairstyles, beards, and mustaches are
easily changed.  People gain and lose weight.  Also, photographs
do not always show the true complexion of a person.  It may be
lighter or darker than shown in the photograph.  If you select a
photograph, please do not ask me whether I agree with or support
your selection.  It is your choice alone that counts.  Please do not
discuss whether selected a photograph with any other witness
who may be asked to look at these photographs. "

If you or a loved one has been the victim of improper Police
practices or have been implicated in a crime based solely on a
photographic line up, call us  we can help.  
Contact our office for a

Legal References Provided by Lexis-Nexis
Criminal Defense Lawyer in Long Beach California
Long Beach Criminal Defense Lawyer