FL, a 17-year-old was charged with the crime of Armed Robbery.
The police allege as follows: FL was part of a group of approximately 8 young males that robbed a pedestrian at gunpoint. Specifically, the police said that a “young white male wearing a red hat” rode his bicycle in the direction of the pedestrian and stopped in front of him; simultaneously, two guys with guns pointed their firearms at the pedestrian. The men with guns demanded the pedestrian’s wallet and sneakers. After taking possession of the wallet and sneakers the group ran/biked away.
Approximately 3 weeks later a detective saw a group of young males playing basketball and riding bikes in a local park. FL was one of the young males riding a bike. The detective suspected that this was the same group that was responsible for the robbery. The detective quickly drove to the house of the victim, told the victim that he had just seen the group of guys that he thought were responsible for the robbery. The detective then brought the victim to the park and asked the victim if the guy on the bike was the same one who had stopped him. The victim said “yes, that’s him.”
Attorney Henry Fasoldt filed a Motion to Suppress the Identification. His argument rested on the principle of law that overly suggestive identification procedures often lead to mistaken IDs. This particular type of ID procedure is called a “Show-Up ID.” Show-up IDs are typically used in the immediate aftermath of a crime. They are often frowned upon because they are inherently suggestive. In this case the fact that the detective told the victim that he had seen the “group that robbed him” added to the already suggestive procedure. Moreover, the detective admitted that during the ID exercise he did not follow the policies and procedures implemented by his department.
The judge suppressed the ID procedure. In addition, any subsequent identifications of FL were also suppressed as they would be “tainted” by the “overly suggestive” ID from the park.
Without the necessary evidence the prosecutors could not continue to prosecute the case. As such it was dismissed.