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Is an eyewitness reliable?

On Behalf of | Apr 7, 2021 | Criminal Defense |

Imagine that you’re falsely accused of a Florida crime because an eyewitness insists that you’re guilty. There are, unfortunately, times when an innocent person is found guilty. This may be because of mistaken identity or a dishonest account from the eyewitness.

On the other hand, imagine that you witnessed someone committing a crime. The police ask you to identify the suspect from a line of photos. Could you be completely sure that the person you think is guilty is the actual perpetrator? How would you feel if you found out that the suspect you identified was innocent? It is important to understand criminal defense as it related to eyewitnesses.

How common is eyewitness testimony?

It is common for judges to allow eyewitness testimony as a way to determine the guilt or innocence of the person on trial. However, it can be complex when it comes to building a criminal defense strategy.

Eyewitness testimony is an individual’s firsthand recollection of an event that was seen in person. The event is usually a crime or perceived crime. The eyewitness is usually a bystander or victim who was present at the time of the crime that is being investigated, such as assault, robbery, or murder. The testimony is the individual’s description of what they saw or heard during the event, including others who were present or directly involved in the crime.

Wrongful convictions

When it comes to criminal trials, the police will often use an eyewitness as the first method of gathering information related to a crime. Eyewitness testimony can be compelling in court since jurors are more likely to believe an eyewitness. However, first-hand accounts of a crime are not as accurate as more reliable forms of evidence like DNA or objects obtained from the crime scene.