Eyewitness testimony can be a powerful tool in the criminal justice system. However, it can also lead to wrongful convictions in Texas if not used correctly. Here’s why.
Eyewitness testimony can be inaccurate
Witnesses sometimes see things differently depending on their vantage point and what they are focusing on; consequently, they can miss a critical piece of information that could change the course of the entire case. In addition, memories can be unreliable, especially if they are not properly documented soon after the event occurred.
Outside factors can influence eyewitness testimony
Witnesses may not be able to provide an accurate account of what happened because they were affected by things like stress, fear and bias. Furthermore, environmental conditions like poor lighting, distance and noise can affect the reliability of their recollections.
Questionable lineup procedures
A witness can be lucky enough to observe and remember a scene exactly as it was; however, if the court uses poorly managed identification procedures when obtaining this data, the witness can get confused, selecting the wrong person. Officers who know the suspects sometimes guide the eyewitness in identifying them. They might give them cues or tell them something that affects their recollection of the suspect.
What to do if wrongfully convicted
If you have been wrongfully convicted based on eyewitness testimony, there are things you can do to try to clear your name. One option is to file for a pardon from the governor of your state. You can also try to get a new trial or appeal your conviction. All these ways require a careful criminal defense strategy to navigate the Texas criminal justice system.
Wrongful convictions are a huge problem when based on inaccurate eyewitness testimony. If you’ve been wrongfully accused, act fast to get an appeal or prove your innocence before facing harsh penalties that you don’t deserve.