Can a Court Believe Witness Identification?by James Davis (The Law Office of James Davis, P.A.)
Just because a person claims they saw something does not mean they are a reliable witness. If you are charged with a crime that someone says they saw you commit, it does not mean you should not still fight the charges. But, is there a chance of winning?
It certainly does mean you still have a chance of winning because there are many real-life examples of how incredibly inaccurate eyewitness identification really is. Just because a person claims to have seen you commit a crime does not mean they can still accurately identify you in a reliable way. this is especially true when trying to remember events or faces in a lineup. People make mistakes every day, which makes it vital for your attorney to point out the unreliability of eyewitness identification in your case.
Various focus groups have done research studies in the last few years and have found out that eyewitness identification is wrong between 35% and 90% of the time. This means that three to four times out of ten criminal cases involved misidentification with the real rate being much higher.
A high-profile study found that after thousands of “witnesses” were shown a 13 second clip of a woman being attacked, and by the end of the clip the attacker runs right toward the camera showing his clearly visible face; the witnesses, after being shown six men, were still unable to pick out the correct attacker in a police lineup
What were the researchers findings?
Proof that witness identification is inaccurate. The study showed that only 14 percent of the witnesses identified the right criminal while 86 percent were not able to pick the right face out of the lineup but were simply guessing.
The factors that causes accuracy in eyewitness identification to be inaccurate include time delay between the time of the event to the identification, the distance from the event or subject, the lighting, if there was a weapon, format of the police lineup and personal fear, which all play role in making this an unreliable form of identification. In addition, the memory is not a static system because what a person remembers at the time of the incident, can alter greatly over time, suggestions and other influences. This means that even if the person honestly believes they really remember the event or the face, their memory may actually be completely wrong. In other words, witnesses are not necessarily lying, but the human mind just finds it difficult to make accurate identifications.
It is extremely important, eyewitness testimony is strongly challenged in all criminal cases. If this is an issue in your case and you are concerned that it might affect your situation, please contact a criminal defense