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Criminal Defense From A Former Prosecutor

Witness errors can sway the outcome of a case

Those who witness crimes in California or other states may be asked to pick the perpetrator out of a lineup. However, it is relatively common for an individual to pick the wrong person or get other details of a case wrong. Therefore, it is important that authorities have a way to determine how accurately a witness picks a potential defendant out of a lineup. There are many possible signs that an identification is correct.

For instance, those who make their decisions quickly and confidently may know that they have chosen the right individual. Research conducted throughout the 21st century has determined that there is a high correlation between confidence and accuracy. Of course, this depends on several other factors, such as an individual being told that the suspect may not be in the police lineup. It should be noted that a link between confidence and accuracy could cause problems of its own.

A judge or jury may assume that a person who was identified confidently is guilty. This is in spite of the fact that even confident people make mistakes. If a lineup is tainted in any way, it may cause a witness to confidently choose the wrong person. Those who study this relationship say that more research should be done to confirm that it.

A criminal defense attorney has many options when it comes to helping a defendant obtain a favorable outcome in his or her case. One way may be to assert that a witness chose the wrong person in a lineup. An attorney may also contend that a witness made inaccurate statements while testifying in court. This may be enough to create doubt in a juror's mind or for the testimony to be thrown out entirely.

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