Understanding the Issues with Eyewitness Misidentification

When looking to build a prosecution case, one of the most commonly used and considered to be one of the strongest pieces of evidence will be eyewitness identification. For many people, this is considered to be the final nail in the coffin of a case. This, however, is not true.

In fact, over the ears, it has been determined that this evidence can be faulty, and as noted by U.S. Supreme Court Justice William J. Brennan, Jr., "At least since United States v. Wade…the Court has recognized the inherently suspect qualities of eyewitness identification evidence, and described the evidence as 'notoriously unreliable." This has led to groups such as the Innocent Project to look into conviction and exonerating the innocent, using DNA evidence to back up their claims.

In these cases, it was determined that in a harrowing 75% of all wrongful convictions, eyewitness misidentification played a role. So what are the causes of this faulty evidence? Usually, it is not a malicious act, but rather a result of circumstances. Some common causes during a police lineup include:

  • The actual perpetrator not being in the police lineups;
  • Blind lineup administration instead of double-blind;
  • Filling lineups with "known innocent" fillers; and
  • Giving positive, affirmative feedback after a lineup

There are also several factors that can come into play from the actual crime as well. Such as stress, the presence of a weapon and even the age of the age of the alleged victim. When the circumstances align, even the innocent can find that they have been identified as the perpetrator of a crime that they did not commit.

Ranch Cucamonga criminal defense attorneys at Chung & Ignacio, LLP recognizes the stress that can accompany a criminal case – no matter whether this involves a sex crime, theft, violent crime or other or other. If you have recently been criminally charged, it is in your best interests to get us involved as soon as possible. Contact a Ranch Cucamonga criminal lawyer from our firm as soon as possible and we will schedule an initial case consultation so that we can discuss your case today.