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N.C. Lawmakers Approve Uniform Standards for Photo Lineups

Posted July 24, 2007

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— The way police conduct photo lineups will soon change. State lawmakers gave final approval to a bill that requires departments to follow uniform procedures statewide. The new legislation could have helped the Duke lacrosse case.

Most law enforcement agencies already use suggested guidelines, but House Bill 1625 makes it a requirement. One some legislators say is needed to keep innocent people out of jail.

When police asked Crystal Mangum to identify her attackers, they only showed her pictures of Duke lacrosse players. The person who conducted that lineup was also involved in the investigation. The new bill would make both of those acts illegal.

"It'll make sure innocent people are not put through the trauma of an unfair process. It'll lead us to the guilty more quickly," said Rep. Deborah Ross, D-Wake.

The move came after the state's Innocence Commission found certain state guidelines resulted in fewer wrongful convictions. Those requirements have investigators use "filler" photos -- pictures of people not associated with the crime.

The move also eliminates anyone involved in the investigation from taking part in the lineup procedure.

The bill would not result in any criminal action against an agency, but it would act more as a deterrent. It would ensure that judges and juries would hear about it if an agency did not conduct their lineup according to state law. Judges could also use the law to toss out lineups.


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  • nowayebby Jul 25, 2007

    why was it ever okay to have line-up's in the manner that is currently acceptable. Any moron could see the potential for a slighted id.

  • Nancy Jul 24, 2007

    eyeswideshut, I couldn't agree more. But in all honesty, I don't know that anyone was ever put in jail in a case Nifong handled in his short tenure as DA. But I wholeheartedly agree, every case he personally prosecuted should be looked at by the AG's office.

    What is so amazing is that two rounds of DNA, used by the Innocence Project to prove someone NOT guilty of rape and jailed, did not stop the prosecution of these three Duke students. Amazing considering that not only does DNA prove innocence of wrongly jailed, it's wholly ignored in this matter and no other evidence backed up the claims either.

    Just unbelievable in this day and age.

  • Harvey Jul 24, 2007

    You'll have to wear a uniform in a lineup now?

  • Seeminglyopposed Jul 24, 2007

    Why is this case any different than any other people who are tried, convicted and sentences to years of prison or death, only to find out that the same thing that was done to them was done to these boys and nothing is done about it.

    Have anybody wanted to even know, how many other, poor men/women were convicted under Nifong, who could not afford the high dollar lawyers to defend them? They need to look at ALL of his cases, not just the ones that has the most money!

  • lilreno is in the wind Jul 24, 2007

    I personally think this woman should be jailed for many years in solitary confinement. Give her time to think about her selfish ways. But she is not alone, there are many out there that want something for nothing. She is pure sorriness in my book!

  • Nancy Jul 24, 2007

    Some excellent coverage on many police departments across the state who were asked their policy on photo line ups and I suggest all to read, it seems to spell out clearly that almost all follow this procedure already:


  • one_nc_citizen Jul 24, 2007

    i'm surprised this wasn't already a law.

    I guess you just trust people to have some decency sometimes and it backfires.

  • Nancy Jul 24, 2007

    fatherofone - when the AG took over the case and thoroughly investigated it, in his public statement to the media when dismissing the case, he made some statements concerning why he didn't wish to pursue Mangum:

    Cooper offered no explanation for why the stripper told such a story and would not discuss her mental health. However, he said no charges will be brought against her, saying she "may actually believe" the many different stories she told.

    "We believe it is in the best interest of justice not to bring charges," he said.

  • 68_polara Jul 24, 2007


    I think this was the third time Crystal Mangum had falsely accused some one of rape.

  • Historians 12th Jul 24, 2007

    That unique, a law to enforce common sense! How yall doering?