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Eyewitness Identification Problems in Criminal Cases

lineup-150x150Are eyewitnesses always accurate in identifying alleged criminals? Recent studies have shown that in more than 75,000 eyewitness identifications, approximately 33% of the identifications were incorrect. Mistaken identifications have put thousands of Americans behind bars. There have been approximately 250 DNA exonerations in recent years. 200 of these convictions resulted from bad eyewitness identifications.

Eyewitnesses, who make statements similar to “the face of that criminal is something I will never forget”, are often wrong. Memories are fragile. Identification by witnesses of strangers is a very inexact science. The reliability of witness identifications are subject to questioning. Justice William J. Brennan, Jr. wrote in a 1991 dissenting opinion regarding a study that convincingly showed “a live human being who takes the stand, points a finger at the defendant and says, that’s the one!” has a major impact on the juries. A study by the American Psychological Association produced research that showed juries tend to give greater weight to eyewitness testimony than other types of evidence.

Supreme Court Reviewing the Issue of Eyewitness Testimony

The United States Supreme Court has recently taken a case involving issues concerning eyewitness testimony. Barry C. Scheck, who is the Director of the Innocence Project at Benjamin N. Cardoza’s School of Law located in New York, New York, stated the courts need a new “legal architecture” which judges can use in authenticated gatekeeping roles. He referred to a study submitted in a New Jersey court by a special master Jeffrey Gaulkin, which showed eyewitness identification should be treated “as a form of trace evidence: a fragment collected at the scene of the crime, like a fingerprint or blood smear, whose integrity and liability need to be monitored and assessed from the point of its recovery to its ultimate presentation at trial. This suggests judges should instruct juries about the limitations involved with eyewitness testimony. Hopefully the Supreme Court will set up a new set of guidelines dealing with the one in three mistakes made by eyewitnesses. Innocent men and women should not be convicted by victims and other witnesses who believe their eyewitness testimony is accurate, when in reality it is wrong in a third of all cases.

Criminal Defense Lawyer

If you have been charged with a crime or are under investigation for committing a crime, the Law Offices of Schlissel DeCorpo can help you. We represent individuals charged with a variety of offenses including, but not limited to, white collar crimes, violent crimes, sex crimes, weapons possession, drunk driving (DWI), shoplifting, burglary, juvenile defenses, assault and battery, domestic violence, drug offensesand all types of felonies and misdemeanors. Call us should you have criminal problems. We can help you!

Emotional Distress Caused by Hidden Camera

smokedetector-150x150Michael J. Muratore was a landlord on Long Island.  Mr. Muratore installed hidden cameras inside smoke detectors in the apartment he leased to his tenant.  Mr. Muratore was arrested and charged with two class “E” felonies for criminal video voyeurism in addition to two misdemeanors.  Mr. Muratore was convicted of these crimes.

Civil Suit for Emotional Distress

The plaintiff in the civil suit was a nineteen-year-old student.  She had leased a two-bedroom apartment from Mr. Muratore on July 1st, 2008.  On August 30th, the plaintiff’s boyfriend noticed that the smoke detector was not working.  He opened up the smoke detector and he found a camera located inside.

The plaintiff brought a lawsuit claiming emotional distress against Mr. Muratore.  She sought civil damages for negligent and intentional infliction of emotional distress.

Judge Ute Lally, sitting in the Supreme Court in Nassau County, New York, has held that the issue of the emotional distress should be presented to the jury.

About Our Firm

The Law Offices of Schlissel DeCorpo has been representing individuals charged with crimes throughout the metropolitan New York area for more than 30 years.  We have extensive experience in handling felonies and misdemeanors.  Our office also represents individuals charged with drug offenses, domestic violence, assault and battery, juvenile offenses, driving while intoxicated, weapon possession and all types of sex crimes and white collar crimes.  We help our clients get out of jail by arranging for bail.

Should you, a friend or family member be the subject of an investigation by law enforcement or be charged with a crime, call us at 1-800-344-6431, 516-561-6645 or 718-350-2802 or contact us by email.  We can help you!

Strip Searches in Nassau County

jail1-150x150A federal judge recently held that individuals who are subject to strip searches in the Nassau County Correctional Institution must receive $500 per person. It has been estimated that 20,000 people will be eligible for the $500 pay out.

United States District Court Judge Dennis Hurley has taken this action because these individuals were subject to “humiliation and emotional distress“. The lawsuit against Nassau County stemmed from a policy of the Nassau County Correctional Institution to strip search everyone at their facility. The court held that it was unconstitutionally intrusive to force people accused of minor misdemeanors to expose their private parts without some reason to suspect that they are hiding something. The lawsuit was initially brought in 1999.

In the past, Nassau County had taken the position that since 85% of the prisoners were male and the searches were always conducted by officers of the same gender, that the damages are excessive. Nassau County claimed that the officers did not touch the prisoners and the prisoners were only required to be naked for 30-45 seconds.

However, Nassau County did admit that each of the prisoners were forced to spread their buttocks as part of the search. The District Court Judge Hurley disagreed with Nassau County’s position.

In his ruling, he stated that “it is hard to believe that the grievous affront to human dignity occasioned by being subjected to an unwarranted visual body-cavity search would not warrant an award considerably in excess of nominal damages. Nassau County has indicated they will appeal the ruling.

We can assist you with criminal matters, misdemeanors, felonies and issues involving personal injury. Please call our office at 1-800-344-6431 or contact us by email.

Valley Stream, Lynbrook, Baldwin, Malverne, Freeport, Oceanside, Long Beach, Elmont, Lakeview, West Hempstead, Hempstead, Merrick, Bellmore

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