Are show ups just a way of saving time and effort VS doing line-ups and photo-arrays or is there something else going on?
You must have just come in and not read back. Start no later than http://lawcomic.net/guide/?p=3004 and read forward.
The point is being clarified that memory is dangerously malleable and showing a victim One suspect, or several suspects with hints at who the police think might be the perpetrator will compromise the victim’s recollection.
Here, two things have happened. The cop has shown the victim, who is just recovering from a trauma, who he thinks might be It. The victim will now remember this face over the vague recollections she may still have of the actual perpetrator. The cop has the suspect in custody. Unless the victim is Very unusual, the victim trusts the cops and their having this guy will bias her opinion of this guy.
In the story, which starts a couple pages before the one I linked, this guy was wrongly convicted and only exhonerated years later due to DNA; an emergent technology not available at the time of the story’s start.
Better, do an archive dive and read the whole comic. There are several things from earlier chapters, such as that image a few pages ago of the jury members minds snapping closed.
P.S. Mr. Burney. Most web comics have four buttons, not two. A previous and next, but also a first and last button to take you to the (current) ends of the comic.
I’d recommend five, with the inclusion of a start of chapter button, though the archive does do well enough if you know about it.
I get that these kinds of identification alter the witnesses’s memory and lead to wrongful convictions. What I don’t get is why the police do them. Do they intentionally do this to alter people’s memory and convict the innocent? Or do they just do show ups rather than line ups and photo arrays to save time?
Part of it is to save time, both for the cops and for an innocent suspect; if the witness says no then he can be released on the spot and not even go to the station for a line up.
I don’t believe it is always intentional. They just do it that way because they have always done it that way. Change is hard for any institution.
Many cops tend to trust eyewitnesses, just like most juries and have no desire to inconvenience witnesses more than necessary, nor hold an innocent person longer than necessary. If you incorrectly believe that eyewitness identification is as infallible as many people, this option is quickest, allows less trouble for the witness, allows you to let an innocent suspect go before taking him to the station if the witness doesn’t recognize him, and lets you immediately go back to searching for the correct one. Plus you don’t need to schedule and put together a line-up.
This would be the ideal strategy IF eyewitnesses were near infallible. They are NOT. Hence the problems mentioned in the comic.
I hope that a showup isn’t considered sufficient evidence to go to trial on. It seems that a showup would justify a search or DNA test if applicable. If people are tried after a showup it would explain where a lot of the wrongful convictions come from.
No, but if the witness sees someone who they’re told is the suspect, and it mostly matches their description, they could easily remember that person as the one who attacked them. Every time a memory is recalled, it’s actually recreated from the information available. And the brain doesn’t really distinguish between sources (which is why tabloid rumors last for such a long time — people don’t remember where they learned about it). So the suspect can get superimposed over the original memory, and that’s how innocent people get sent to prison.