Lineup Definition and Legal Meaning

On this page, you'll find the legal definition and meaning of Lineup, written in plain English, along with examples of how it is used.

What is Lineup?

(n) Lineup is the sequential formation of any group, article, persons etc to provide individual access in a convenient way without giving undue importance to any. A lineup is used in identification parade in which the suspected are mixed up with non suspected to verify whether they can be identified from the similar or equal persons or entities

History and Meaning of Lineup

A lineup is a method of identifying a particular person, suspect or witness in a criminal case or investigation from a group of individuals. It has long been used in courtrooms to place suspects or witnesses in a line and ask a victim or witness to identify a person or persons. The history of the lineup can be traced back to the early 1900s, but it became more popular in the mid-20th century as law enforcement began to rely on it more heavily for identifying suspects in crimes. It is a common practice in the United States and many other countries, although it has been criticized for its potential to lead to wrongful convictions if not conducted properly.

Examples of Lineup

  1. In a robbery case, the police ask the victim to identify the person who robbed him from a lineup of five individuals.
  2. During an investigation of a hit-and-run accident, the police have several witnesses view a lineup of potential suspects to see if they can identify the driver.
  3. In a murder investigation, the detectives bring in several possible suspects for a lineup and ask the witness to identify the person they saw leaving the scene of the crime.

Legal Terms Similar to Lineup

  1. Show-up - A one-on-one identification procedure where a victim or witness is shown a single suspect instead of a lineup of individuals.
  2. Photographic lineup - A lineup conducted using photographs instead of live individuals.
  3. Field identification - An identification procedure that takes place outside of a formal lineup, such as when a victim or witness is shown a suspect on the street or in a different setting.