After a witness at a crime scene picked you out of a group of photos, police asked you to participate in a line up. You stood alongside several other subjects, but something didn’t seem quite right. For one thing, you were the only person wearing a t-shirt and jeans.

Can you challenge the line up?

Under Illinois law, you have a due process right to be free from identification procedures that are unnecessarily suggestive and are conducive to an irreparable mistaken identification. If the line up was unduly suggestive, your attorney may be able to petition the court to suppress the fact that a witness selected you.

To do so, you must show that you were denied due process because of the way the line-up was performed. Once you meet that burden, the state must clearly and convincingly show that the witness picked you solely based on his or her memory of events at the time of the crime.

A court will consider whether the procedure was unduly suggestive, and the identification not independently reliable. To determine reliability, the court considers: 1) the witness’s opportunity to view you during the offense, (2) the witness’s degree of attention at the time of the offense, (3) the accuracy of any prior description by the witness, (4) the witness’s level of certainty at the identification, and (5) the length of time between the crime and the identification.

If you have been charged with a criminal offense, contact an experienced criminal law attorney immediately. An attorney can review your case for its best possible defense. Did police follow correct procedure in obtaining any evidence against you? Can the state prove all the elements of your offense beyond a reasonable doubt? Even if the police acted lawfully and the evidence against you is overwhelming, an attorney who is respected in the courthouse may be able to negotiate a more favorable plea agreement than you could on your own.

If you have questions about this or another related Illinois criminal or traffic matter, please contact Matt Keenan at 847-568-0160 or email

Reference: People v. Bahena.

(Besides Skokie, Matt Keenan also serves the communities of Arlington Heights, Chicago, Deerfield, Des Plaines, Evanston, Glenview, Morton Grove, Mount Prospect, Niles, Northbrook, Park Ridge, Rolling Meadows, Wilmette and Winnetka.)

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