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Issues with eyewitness testimony

During criminal proceedings in Pennsylvania, the prosecution will present evidence against the defendant. The evidence might include eyewitness testimony, which could be enough to secure a conviction beyond a reasonable doubt. However, not all eyewitness testimony is credible. Sometimes, there can be serious problems with such evidence.

Issues with eyewitness testimony

Eyewitness testimony is unlike video or audio recordings, where someone can look or listen to the footage as it was recorded. A witness’ recollections may suffer from deficiencies that undermine credibility. That is not to say that a witness is outright lying, as the person could be mistaken. There are several reasons why a witness may not remember things correctly. Trying to remember events with clarity when witnessing something from too far of a distance or in poor light situations might result in unreliable testimony.

Misremembering could be another problem with eyewitness testimony. A witness may recollect things differently as time passes. The witness might sincerely believe they are giving accurate testimony when they are making statements based on cognition errors.

Defense concerns

One criminal defense strategy might be to address troubling comments made by witnesses who are being untruthful. A witness could have an agenda that involves making falsehoods in court. A personal vendetta or an attempt to deflect blame away from themselves might lead to perjury and false accusations. Pointing out inaccuracies or conflicting statements may help with the defense.

Other issues could contribute to problems with witness statements. Sometimes, a witness might be led by the police to make statements. Such actions by law enforcement would be illegal, and the truth might come out in court.