Resuming 6 Things that Can Affect Eye Witness Testimony (Pt. 1), below, we will reveal a few more issues that can contribute to unreliable eye witness testimony.
Additional Things that Can Make Eye Witness Testimony Problematic
3 – Eye witnesses being victims of the alleged crime
While victims of crime can provide powerful eye witness testimony for the prosecution, their testimony can also be problematic (in some cases), as the stress of being the target of crime can lead to:
- Misidentifying alleged perpetrators of a crime (especially if a weapon was used in the commission of the crime)
- Misremembering the series of events associated with the crime (especially if the victim was under additional stressors or influence, like threats of violence, drugs and/or influence from law enforcement after the offense).
What this can mean for a defense case is that finding witnesses other than the victims of an offense (or evidence other than witness testimony) can be critical to highlighting unreliable eye witness testimony and strengthening a defense case.
4 – Repeatedly recounting eye witness testimony
With any story, the more you tell it, the more it can start taking on different, rehearsed forms that can evolve, take on new details, leave out others and ultimately result in a story that does not necessarily accurately impart the events on which it may be based.
Applying this to eye witness testimony (especially when criminal cases may drag on for months or years and witnesses are recounting their version of events numerous times), it’s not hard to see how testimony may change over time.
For some final important things to know about the reliability of eye witness testimony, be sure to check out the conclusion to this blog series that will be published soon.
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