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Issues with eyewitness testimony

On Behalf of | Jan 5, 2023 | Criminal Defense

In criminal trials, guilty verdicts rely on the prosecution’s ability to prove reasonable doubt. Compelling evidence might deliver such proof, and eyewitness testimony may sway a Texas jury. However, this type of testimony is not always credible. Persons facing criminal charges may challenge the veracity of a witness’s claims.

Eyewitness woes

Eyewitness testimony involves one or more persons providing a sworn account of what they believe they saw. A critical item to point to here is what the witness believes dictates their testimony. Although someone might sincerely believe they saw what they saw, they could be mistaken. Most alarming to defendants could be the psychological impact of eyewitness testimony on juries. Some jury members might be inclined to believe a story based on emotions or biases, even though the testimony is inaccurate.

An effective criminal defense strategy may point at the problems with eyewitness testimony. Depending on the specific facts, there could be various ways to address such issues.

Eyewitness problems

Several problems with eyewitness testimony could become apparent before or during a trial. Close scrutiny of the time and place the witness observed events might cast significant doubts. If the witness saw something from a far distance or in inclement weather, accuracy could suffer. Questions might even arise about any problems with the witness’s eyesight.

A witness might lack credibility because the person outright lies. Sometimes, persons wishing to deflect criminal activities away from themselves might attempt to blame others. Sometimes, the witness may face threats or coercion to make false statements. The police could play a role in trying to sway someone to make specific claims or statements. Such a violation of a defendant’s rights might undermine the prosecution’s case.