Some Other Dude Did It (the SODDI Defense)
I wasn't the dude who did itWhen there is a real question of identity it is appropriate for counsel to request a lineup identification to be held. This usual means that 6-10 people of similar appearance to the defendant are presented for a line up with defendant. The witness observes behind a one way mirror. Counsel has a right to be present so that the line-up is not overly suggestive. If the witness picks the wrong person that's obviously good for the defense. Even if the witness picks the defendant counsel may argue at trial that police coaching or suggestibility tainted the process.
Photo LineupsIn a photo lineup a six pack of photos including defendant's are shown to the witness. the other five photos should be similar in appearance to the defendant. There is no right to counsel at a six pack lineup. Obviously an identification can be challenged if the photos are too dissimilar.
ShowupsA showup is similar to a line-up but occurs in the field soon after an arrest is made. If police have probable cause to believe a suspect committed a crime they can take the accused to the witness and ask if this is the guilty party. Showups are inherently more suggestive than other lineup procedures because the accused is handcuffed and obviously in custody. When a defendant is identified in trial for the first time because he is at counsel table or in jail clothes the process is a form of showup and obviously suggestive. If identity is a question a lineup should occur as soon after arraignment as possible.