Although eye witnesses may seem to provide strong evidence in criminal cases, the reality is that:
- Eye witnesses can misremember things and/or misidentify people – In fact, as the Innocence Project reports, eye witness testimony is the single biggest contributing factor in wrongful convictions in the U.S., playing a role in more than 70 percent of all criminal convictions that are ultimately overturned by DNA evidence.
- Various elements of the alleged crime and its aftermath can end up impacting the reliability of eye witness testimony.
- Pinpointing the problems with eye witness testimony for the prosecution can be a powerful defense strategy.
In this blog series, we will take a closer look at just some of the issues and factors that can contribute to unreliable eye witness testimony. If, however, defending yourself against criminal charges is your primary concern, contact the experienced Broomfield and Boulder criminal defense attorneys at the Peter Loyd Weber & Associates for the best possible defense.
What Can Make Eye Witness Testimony Unreliable
1 – Eye witnesses not being in close proximity to the alleged crime
Where eye witnesses were and how they observed an alleged crime taking place can play a critical role in what witnesses see – and, more specifically, the details they may or may not actually observe. For instance, eye witness testimony from witnesses who were feet away from an alleged crime will probably be more detailed and reliable than testimony from witnesses who were hundreds of feet away from the incident.
Here, it’s also important to point out that the following factors can contribute to unreliable eye witness testimony when witnesses may be further away from the incident in question:
- The witness has vision impairments that require him or her to wear glasses or contacts.
- There were large objects between the witness and the alleged crime, potentially obscuring a person’s vision.
- The eye witness was engaged in other activities at the same time as (s)he allegedly saw a crime occur.
2 – Multiple suspects involved in the crime
When more than one person is alleged to have committed some crime, the reliability of eye witness testimony can decline, especially when it comes to identifying the alleged perpetrators of the crime. Just a few of the reasons for this include that:
- Multiple suspects can increase witnesses’ stress in these situations, making it far more likely that they will misremember things.
- When multiple suspects are alleged involved in a crime, it can be easier for eye witnesses to confuse personal details for each of the alleged suspects.
Be sure to check out the second and third parts of this blog series for some more important info about when eye witness testimony may be inaccurate and unreliable
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.
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.