Illinois' New Photo Lineup Law

Schaumburg Criminal Defense Lawyer

Wrongful convictions can destroy lives. Being convicted of a crime one did not commit can land an innocent person in prison, saddle him or her with fines and legal fees, and destroy his or her career and relationships while the truly guilty party lives free. Illinois is one of the top states in the country for wrongful convictions. Notably, Cook County holds the record for the highest number of people wrongly convicted of violent crimes in the United States. Since 1989, 101 Illinois residents have had their convictions overturned; 78 of them were in Cook County.

Illinois' House Bill 802 was drafted and introduced to the state legislature in 2013 to combat wrongful convictions. It was passed in 2014 as part of Public Act 98-1014, which amended 720 ILCS 550/2. This law requires police departments to use an automated computer program, an independent administrator, a random folder photo lineup, or any other method of generating a lineup that keeps the suspect's identity unknown to the administrator that is available. It also allows police departments to present all of the individuals in a lineup separately, rather than as a group.

If you have been wrongfully convicted of a crime, you have the right to have your conviction overturned and seek compensation for your losses. Contact an experienced criminal defense attorney to discuss the circumstances of your case and ways to prove that you did not commit the crime.

Current Lineup Procedure

Currently, the lineup procedure is as follows: an eyewitness stands behind a one-way mirror and identifies a suspect or a crime out of a group of individuals who match the suspect's physical description. This generally occurs before a trial formally begins, but after the charges for the case have been filed.

There are many reasons why the current lineup procedure can go wrong and result in a misidentification or a violation of the suspect's rights. Some examples of how a lineup can be used incorrectly are as follows:

  • If an administrator or police officer is suggestive to the eyewitness and identifies the suspect to him or her, either directly or indirectly;
  • If all the decoys in the lineup look different from each other, deviating from the suspect's physical description; or
  • If all the decoys are of the same race or share some other characteristic that is not shared by the suspect, making the suspect stand out.

Police lineups are used to build evidence in a case. Because the human memory is notoriously fallible, there is much room for error to occur when using this identification method. House Bill 802 was created to eliminate this possibility of error.

If You Are Wrongfully Convicted of An Illinois Crime

Contact an experienced criminal defense attorney immediately to correct the situation. You should not have to spend time in jail, pay fines, or suffer any other consequences for a crime you did not commit.

You may be able to receive monetary compensation as well as other benefits for your wrongful conviction. The amount of money you may receive depends on the length of time you were wrongfully imprisoned. You may also qualify for job search and placement services.

How This Bill Will Improve Wrongful Conviction Rates

The changes in House Bill 802 will eliminate the possibility of a lineup administrator consciously or subconsciously revealing the suspect's identity to any eyewitnesses called in to identify a suspect. If the eyewitness enters the identification session with only his or her recollection of the event, he or she should have an easier time accurately picking the correct suspect out of the lineup.

Cook County Criminal Defense Lawyers

Do not allow a wrongful conviction to destroy your life. If you are facing charges for a crime you did not commit or you have already been convicted of this crime, contact the experienced Illinois criminal defense attorneys at Glasgow & Olsson at (847) 577-8700 or fill out the contact form to learn more about your rights and legal options.