Published on:

Validity of Eye Witness Identification in Arizona

“Describe the ‘young man’ who walked into the room earlier,” asked the teacher.

Later the student learns the man that the teacher referred to was in fact, 55 years old. So the question begs, “Was he a “man”; or was he a “young man”?

This is an illustration of when a person might be influenced by another. If the witness had not been fully attentive to the man who walked into a room, they may have remembered the man as a younger man, perhaps younger than he really was, simply because it was suggested. Many factors including other people may adversely impact the validity of a witness statement.

In a recent defendant advocacy study, 25% of the sample group was exonerated due to invalidity of eye witness accounts. The human brain is not a computer. In and of itself it is not able to play back an event down to the greatest of details as that of an audio/video recording.

Eyewitness identification and accounts are not always valid. There are many factors that can invalidate them, or prove them less than accurate. Other material evidence should be used to increase the validity of eye witness ID or testimony such as photographs, surveillance video, fingerprints and DNA comparisons.

Factors That May Influence or Invalidate Witness Identification

  • A person’s recollection was influenced by another;
  • The witness was biased against the suspect;
  • Weapons used in the crime resulted in stress to the victim or witness;
  • Length of time that elapsed between crime and identification;
  • Crime occurred during evening hours when it’s dark;
  • Other poor lighting or other causes for poor visibility;
  • Witnessed was on cell phone, texting, or focused on other tasks;
  • Obstruction of view;
  • The suspect had similar features as the offender;
  • Other distractions including noise, lights, and other outside stimuli

Criminal Defense Attorney Mesa AZ

If you were arrested for a crime, and witnesses have made allegations against you, it is important to consult a criminal defense attorney before pleading guilty. There may be defenses that can be used to suppress invalid evidence that may lead to a dismissal of charges, or other favorable outcome in your case. A defendant has many rights under the State and US Constitution. The 6th Amendment of the US Constitution affords the accused of the right to confront their accused, this includes witnesses. If you wish to challenge evidence and protect your rights you should retain a qualified criminal attorney to defend your charges.

Additional Resources