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Could an attorney challenge eyewitness testimony?

| Apr 7, 2021 | Blog, Criminal Defense

A credible witness could be of value to prosecutors. Not all eyewitnesses are credible, and some may even suffer from faulty recollections. Successful challenges of eyewitness testimony might lead to a defendant leaving a Georgia courtroom with a “not guilty” verdict.

Problems with eyewitness testimony

What a person believes he or she saw might not truly be what took place. A witness may testify that someone fitting the accused’s description entered a building at midnight. Upon closer examination, it turns out the witness saw a figure enter a building from across the street, in very low light, and during a rainstorm. A defense attorney could suggest the visibility was too low for positive identification.

Other factors may undermine an eyewitness account. Was the person’s vision poor? Did the individual consume drugs or alcohol? Anything that creates doubt about a witness’s testimony might work in the defendant’s favor.

Egregious examples of eyewitness problems

The police may inadvertently lead a witness to wrongly identify someone. Improper lineup procedures could contribute to such an outcome. Outright corrupt behavior may even play a role in identifying someone.

And then there may be instances where the witness outright lies. A person guilty of criminal behavior might try to “work” with law enforcement by lying to them and implicating someone falsely. Prosecutors might not see through the testimony’s problems and go forward with the case. However, a defense attorney could poke holes in the witness’s credibility by pointing out inconsistencies and more.

A case might not even reach trial. If the witness’s credibility falls apart, charges could end up withdrawn.

A criminal defense attorney could discuss the challenges of witness testimony with a client. An attorney may provide insights into a defense strategy based on witness statements and other evidence.

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