Eyewitness testimony can be some of the most compelling evidence in a criminal case, particularly if the case goes to trial and there are multiple eyewitnesses with the same or similar stories. Despite the persuasive nature of eyewitness testimony, however, this type of evidence can be problematic and may not be as solid or true to the facts as it may seem.
In this three-part blog series, we will highlight some common factors that can impact the reliability and accuracy of eyewitness testimony. If you or someone you love has been charged with a crime and eyewitness testimony may be part of the evidence against you, don’t hesitate to contact the trusted Colorado Springs criminal defense lawyers at Kohn Law Firm We are skilled at aggressively defending our clients and helping them successfully resolve their cases.
Factors That Can Affect the Accuracy of Eyewitness Testimony
When evaluating the reliability of eyewitness testimony, it’s important to determine whether any of the following may be an issue:
Even though some people may feel that being under stress helps them focus, research has indicated that stress can increase the likelihood of memory mistakes. In fact, the specific circumstances of the alleged crime and the witness’ role in relation to it can impact people’s ability to accurately remember an incident (and, consequently, can impact the reliability of their eyewitness testimony).
For instance, the following can contribute to eye witnesses’ stress and, thereby, potentially impact the reliability of their version of the events that occurred:
- Being in close proximity to the criminal activity
- Being held hostage as part of the crime
- Otherwise having their lives or safety (or the lives or safety of their loved ones) threatened
2. Perceived pressure to ID a suspect
When eyewitnesses are questioned and asked about their version of the events that occurred (by police or prosecutors), it’s likely that these witnesses will also be asked if they can identify a suspect. Although responsible law enforcement officials will never place pressure on eye witnesses to ID suspects (and will never push them towards one suspect over another), it’s common that witnesses still perceive some pressure to ID someone as the suspect.
In these cases, eyewitnesses may be less cautious then they maybe should be when identifying a suspect, possibly even asserting their certainty despite the fact that they may actually be unsure.
For our continued discussion regarding eyewitness testimony and some of the problems with it, be sure to look for the second and third parts of this blog series that will be published soon!
Colorado Springs Criminal Defense Lawyers at Kohn Law Firm
Have you or a loved one been charged with a misdemeanor or felony crime? If so, the Colorado Springs criminal defense attorneys at Kohn Law Firm are ready to aggressively defend your rights and help you bring your case to a successful resolution. At Kohn Law Firm, we believe that our clients deserve exceptional service, ethical treatment and aggressive representation. That’s why we are here to help you protect your freedom and future.
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To learn more about how we can help you, set up a free initial consultation with us by calling us at (719) 328-9555 or by emailing us using the contact form at the top of this page.
From our offices in Colorado Springs, we represent clients throughout the Pikes Peak region and Colorado.