With the advent of new technologies and increasingly more precise tools, law enforcement rely less and less on eyewitness testimony. However, the testimony of bystanders or other eyewitnesses continues to play an important role in our judicial system, and plenty of cases are still decided upon the claims or statements made by other parties.
Unfortunately, study after study has shown that eyewitness testimony is notoriously unreliable, and the implications of mistaken or incorrect testimony can be severe. To help illustrate this point, this post is exploring common ways in which confident or otherwise convinced eyewitnesses could be relaying wrong or inaccurate information while in the courtroom.
Suboptimal Lighting, Bad Viewing Angles, and Other Visual Complications
Eyewitnesses depend on their recollection of a given event to make their statements. While this can be valuable evidence, it’s important for the specific visual and lighting conditions to be established in order to ensure that the claims are accurate. For example, poor lighting and a bad viewing angle can completely change the nature of the claims, as could other discoveries such as the fact that the eyewitness suffers from poor vision or might not be able to assert with 100% that they actually saw what they are claiming.
Internal and External Distractions
Furthermore, it’s important that the eyewitness’s testimony is analyzed within the context of his/her external surroundings. Things such as bright lights, loud noises, and even the presence of a weapon can heavily warp a person’s perception of an event. This also applies to internal distractions. Racial biases, personal turmoil, and even simply a lack of attentiveness also impact a person’s ability to perceive and to summarize their experience at a later date.
Consult with a Skilled Criminal Defense Attorney in CA
These are just some ways in which eyewitness testimony can be completely unreliable in court. A skilled criminal defense attorney should be familiar with this facet of eyewitness testimonies and can scrutinize the statements in a fair and unbiased manner.
We at the Jacot Law Firm hope that this post shed some light onto just how unreliable this type of evidence is. Remember, if you’re facing a criminal charge in CA or what to speak with a qualified criminal defense attorney for any reason, know that we’re here to help.
Call us at the Jacot Law Firm at your earliest convenience to schedule a free initial consultation with one of our legal experts.