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Can defense lawyers attack eyewitness testimony?

| Apr 17, 2021 | Criminal Defense |

Georgia residents who suffer the misfortune of criminal charges will likely learn the huge impact witness testimony can have on their case. Some cases will become completely dependent on an eyewitness’s credibility and ability to describe the details of a crime. But more and more legal experts are speaking out regarding the unreliability of some eyewitness testimony.

Eyewitness reliability

The Innocence Project is a non-profit organization that works to gain the freedom of wrongly convicted individuals. A recent study conducted by the lawyers and students that comprise the project showed that unreliable witness testimony contributed to nearly eight out of 10 wrongful convictions observed by the group.

The group also explains the reliability of witness testimony declines as the age of the witness increases. The group produced study results showing that individuals between ages 60 and 80 scored much lower for accurate testimony than college students to back their assertion.

The study uncovered another potentially troubling fact about older witnesses. These witnesses are often more adamant about what they say they saw and heard than younger witnesses. This is bad news for the criminal process since a jury hearing incorrect facts from an older witness may be more likely to believe the witness based on the confidence they demonstrate.

Eyesight can also become a factor in witness reliability. Tests performed on people with good vision show that from 200 feet away, it is difficult to see the eyes of another person. This fact may not seem relevant until you consider that murder convictions have been gained based on the testimony of a witness viewing a crime from twice this distance.

Individuals charged with criminal offenses will need to mount a defense to protect their lives from potential damage. Defendants may benefit from involving a criminal defense attorney at the beginning of these preparations.