The Risks to an Innocent Suspect Having a Tattoo Similar to the Real Perpetrator of the Crime.
(2017) The Risks to an Innocent Suspect Having a Tattoo Similar to the Real Perpetrator of the Crime., no. 61.
This study addressed the knowledge gap surrounding the extent of innocent suspect identifications if an individual stands out in a lineup with a tattoo either the same/different in location/appearance to the actual perpetrator. Participants (n = 122) watched a short video, described the target, completed a filler task and made a decision on a target-absent or target-present simultaneous lineup, followed by confidence ratings. Identification decisions and confidence ratings were also required for tattoo-only lineups. Few participants described a tattoo (n = 40). The data was combined with prior research (N=250) and low innocent suspect identifications were found overall (n = 31). Results suggested neither location nor appearance influenced decisions but confidence may have been affected. The results imply that when eyewitnesses have a quick look at a perpetrator with a tattoo, an innocent suspect with a tattoo in a lineup is not at a great risk of being erroneously identified.