Recently, eyewitness testimony has played a very important role in the lives of many when it comes to large court decisions. For instance, in a case known as People v. Lee, the New York Court of Appeals made a ruling that a trial judge actually has the discretion to admit expert testimony on the reliability of eyewitness accounts. However, there is a stigma that eyewitness accounts can actually be misleading and unreliable in many cases. Cross-examination is seen as the tell-all way to make sure that you can trust what a witness has to say. If an eyewitness determines that they recognize the defendant from a crime, a defense attorney can make the decision to cross-examine about the lighting, duration of the encounter, and more. This means that there is hope in your case if you have been accused of a crime by a witness. Now we can explore the ways in which you can defend yourself.
So, let’s say that an eyewitness comes forth and claims that they saw you commit a crime. This is all fine and dandy, except for one thing: Are they credible? This is what actually matters. If somebody watched you commit a crime, there could be many factors that influence it. Did the crime happen so quickly that there was no possible way that they could have gotten positive identification? In fact, a witness may be more concerned about their own safety and not get a proper glimpse of what is happening before their very eyes. Events move quickly when a crime is being committed, and a judge will take this into consideration.
Factors Affecting Credibility
- Was the witness watching the crime take place from a safe distance or were they focused on keeping themselves safe because they were in the midst of the crime?
- Did the witness observe the crime from start to finish? Or did the witness only see what happened after their attention was drawn to the crime after the fact?
- Was the witness able to observe the crime for a sufficient period of time to make a determination of what was actually happening?
- Was the witness feeling distracted for any reason?
- Is the witness relying on something they actually saw, or are they relying on information that another person at the scene shared?
Of course, there are factors taken into consideration about the actual witness’ background as well. This can tell whether or not a witness would be credible or if they could have made the encounter up on their own. Here are some of those factors:
- Is the witness a convicted felon?
- Does the witness have a reputation for dishonesty?
- Is the witness a friend or family member of the person who the crime was committed against?
- Do they have poor eyesight or hearing?
- Were they intoxicated at the time of the crime?
- Do the have poor memory or are easily confused?
When all of these factors are taken into consideration, it makes it much easier to determine if the witness was credible or not. Your case is never hopeless, which is why you should have an experienced defense attorney to help you every step of the way. Call us today for more information on what to do if an eyewitness is speaking up against you for committing a crime. At The Law Office of Peter Blair, we want to help you with your case.