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Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Do "scent lineups" help police find the right suspect?

I'd never heard of this before, but scent lineups are pretty much what they sound like. Instead of asking a victim to identify a suspect from a lineup, police use a K9 to sniff a piece of evidence and then pick the suspect from a group of people, USA Today reports. One practitioner -- Keith Pikett, a lawman from Texas -- has worked hundreds of cases with his dogs.

He's also involved in a pair of federal lawsuits arguing the scent lineups don't work. Defense lawyers have found a couple of cases where the suspects were singled out by the dogs, but later cleared by other methods.

Here's a piece on scent lineups from forensic-evidence.com ...
An older piece from Fortune, which says that K9s are wrong 30 to 40 percent of the time ...
A post from the awesomely named "Grits For Breakfast" blog about the case ...

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