Carrie Leonetti


Almost all jurisdictions in the United States, at least under some circumstances, permit the highly suggestive procedure of a "showup"- in essence, a one-person lineup containing only the suspect. In Bosnia and Herzegovina, on the other hand, identifications resulting from showups are categorically prohibited, even though requiring full lineups in all cases inevitably causes relative delays in police investigations. This case study explores that crucial difference between the two systems and attempts to assess what, if anything, the United States could learn from the Bosnian requirement that eyewitnesses always be shown fillers, in addition to the suspect, when being asked to make identifications.

This Article contains a summary of interviews with key domestic and international judges, prosecutors, criminal-defense attorneys, and law-enforcement officers in Bosnia and Herzegovina, as well as participant comments, as part of a case study of the Bosnian rules governing eyewitness identification. It also contains the author's reflections and recommendations that resulted from these interviews. The recommendations are designed to ensure that the United States does a better job of protecting the innocent by rethinking its approach to eyewitness identifications, the consequences of suggestive and unreliable practices, and the relationship between exclusionary rules and deterrence.



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