Prosecutors in Washington and elsewhere may use eyewitness testimony as part of a strategy to prove that you committed a crime. This is because most people will give significant weight to the words of someone who saw an incident. However, the truth is that such testimony isn’t as dependable as many make it out to be.
The eyes can lie
Research has shown that several factors can make it difficult for a person to recall what they saw at any given time accurately. For example, if a witness stood more than 500 feet away from you, it’s unlikely that the witness would be able to see any of your specific facial features.
Furthermore, if a witness has poor eyesight, that person may not be able to see who committed a crime or get a good look at any weapons used to commit a crime. Finally, stress can cause people to forget certain details of what they saw or warp their memory of the events they witnessed. Casting doubt on witness testimony may be a key pillar of your criminal defense.
Witnesses may feel pressured to act
It’s common for police to ask a witness to identify a defendant out of a lineup. If the witness points to someone other than the defendant, it may cast doubt on that person’s credibility at trial. It may create enough uncertainty that jurors will have to return a not guilty verdict.
If you are charged with a crime, it doesn’t mean you did anything wrong. It may be possible to obtain a favorable outcome in your case by having suppressed witness testimony or other evidence. Doing so may result in a criminal charge being dropped or reduced.