In March, a state appellate court issued a written opinion in a Michigan homicide case discussing the propriety of a show-up identification made by a witness. A show-up identification is one in which police show a single person to a witness, asking if that is the person they believe committed the crime.
Show-up identifications are inherently suspect because they are suggestive in that the witness will almost always know that the person they are asked about is being investigated for their involvement in a crime. Thus, courts require law enforcement officers to take special precautions to ensure these identification procedures are not unfairly suggestive.
The Facts of the Case
According to the court’s opinion, the defendant was pulled over on suspicion of homicide after his vehicle was identified by a witness. Another witness, Jones, identified the defendant as the shooter. At the time of the shooting, Jones was riding in the back seat of a car. Jones described the shooter as a bald black man wearing black pants and a white shirt.