Ending our blog series 6 Things that Can Affect Eye Witness Testimony, below we will point out a few more issues that can render eye witness testimony less reliable than it may seem.
More Issues that Can Impact the Reliability of Eye Witness Testimony
5 – How eye witnesses are asked about their memories of a crime
Interestingly, how we are asked about our memories can be crucial to how we recall the events of an incident and whether our memories may fill in some gaps to info that we did not actually witness. For instance, let’s say a witness to an alleged crime meets with police, and officers ask either:
What did you see? – This more open-ended question allows eye witnesses to tell their accounts of an event without any leading or pushing from officers.
- Did you see this man commit the offense? – In contrast, this more pointed question can not only limit eye witness testimony, but it may also steer it in a direction that it wouldn’t have gone otherwise. In turn, this can lead to witnesses misremembering things, recounting things that may have not happened, etc.
What this means for a criminal defense case is that:
- Getting to the bottom of how law enforcement and/or prosecutors interviewed eye witnesses can be very telling about whether there may be problems with the reliability of eye witness testimony.
- Asking different – or the right – questions of eye witnesses can produce some very different and important information that can be powerful to a defense case.
6 – The nature of human memory
The way that our memories work can also be problematic when it comes to the accuracy of eye witness testimony. This is because, over time, our memories can:
- Fill in gaps or missing details to make a complete story for us
- Accentuate details with which we may be more familiar while obscuring details that may be more foreign to us
- Be inherently biased based on our past experiences, our education, etc.
Broomfield and Boulder Criminal Defense Attorneys at Peter Loyd Weber & Associates
Have you or a loved one been charged with a misdemeanor or felony crime? If so, the Broomfield and Boulder criminal defense attorneys at the Peter Loyd Weber & Associates are ready to immediately start defending you. Our primary concern is protecting your constitutional rights throughout the criminal process while helping you obtain the best possible outcome to your case.
We have a proven record of success and excellence in helping our clients favorably resolve their criminal cases, and we are ready to put our experience, knowledge and skills to work for you.
Let’s Discuss Your Defense – Contact Us Today
To talk about your defense and how we can help you, call us today at (720) 863-7755 or email us using the contact form on this page. We offer complimentary consultations, and we take pride in always being available to our clients – 24 hours per day, 7 days per week – so that they have the personal attention their case deserves.
From our offices based in Northglenn, Broomfield and Boulder, we provide the strongest defense and highest quality legal services to our clients throughout Weld County, Adams County and the state of Colorado.