Friday, November 21, 2008
The Austin Police Department "meets the minimum legal requirements" for the administration of live and photo lineups of criminal suspects, but "does little to ensure that its lineup procedures provide the best evidence possible in any given case," according to a new report released this morning by the non-profit The Justice Project.
The group contacted more than 1,000 police departments across Texas requesting policies and procedures for photo and live lineup procedures; 750 departments responded, but just 88 had any written protocols for the administration of lineups – and among that group, TJP found that the policies and procedures provided are "largely inadequate" and are "inconsistent across departments." (More than 600 departments – including the Travis Co. Sheriff's Office – returned a form affirming that they have no written policies governing lineup procedures. Another 284 departments failed to respond to TJP's requests, as required by Texas' public information law. The group has sent those agencies a second open records request and has contacted the Texas Attorney General's Open Records Division.) [Mark Godsey]