Eyewitness testimony can be crucial to a prosecutor’s case. Yet, some of the witnesses that prosecutors call upon are not as reliable as one might assume.
If the prosecution plans to call on an eyewitness to testify against you, it’s crucial that you understand that there may be ways to contest their version of events.
Cast doubt on their integrity and impartiality
Some people will do anything to save their skin, even if it means helping to convict an innocent person. An eyewitness may believe that helping prosecutors could further their arguments for lenient treatment over crimes they have committed. They might also come forward with a false story to do someone else a favor, such as a family member or gang boss. If you can show their intentions are dishonest, it could convince a court to doubt what they say.
Cast doubt on their reliability
Look into the eyewitness’s present and past to see if anything could indicate their account may be unreliable. This could include a history of erroneous testimony, problems with drugs or the fact that they had been in the bar all night before they allegedly saw you.
Cast doubts on their view of events
Where was this person when they said they saw you? Were they close up with a great view of events for a few minutes? Or were they far away and only caught a brief glimpse of things? Weather conditions and lighting can also disrupt the clarity of someone’s view, as can their eyesight. Discovering that a eyewitness is short-sighted and was not wearing their glasses when they claimed to have seen you from 200 feet away makes their account less believable.
Learning more about these and other ways to challenge an eyewitness’s testimony could be crucial if you’re facing criminal charges.