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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!

Nassau County’s Continuing Crime Lab Problems

crime1-150x150 The United States Supreme Court recently ruled that laboratory technicians  will have to testify regarding lab tests for such tests to be accepted into  evidence. This will create significant problems for the Nassau County  District Attorney’s Office.

Nassau County Crime Lab Closed Since February

In February of 2011, the Nassau County Crime Lab was closed. This action was taken after the crime lab lost it’s certification for drug testing. Nassau County is now in the process of re-testing thousands of samples taken regarding drug cases. All of the testing is currently being undertaken by a crime laboratory located in Pennsylvania. It is estimated that this is costing Nassau County in excess of $100,000 per month.

Presenting Laboratory Evidence

The Supreme Court decision will require Nassau County to bring the crime laboratory technicians from Pennsylvania to testify with regard to the tests they conducted concerning evidence obtained by police in drug related cases. The United States Supreme Court case requires the actual lab technician who conducted the test to testify on the procedures utilized in the analysis of the drug material. The court ruling does not allow for supervisors or other employees to testify instead of the technician that conducted the tests.

Criminal Defense Lawyers

Criminal defense lawyers throughout the country have taken the position that this removes the unfairness from the submission of laboratory tests by prosecutors without calling the lab technicians to testify regarding their procedures. This gives criminal defense lawyers an opportunity to cross examine the laboratory employees with regard to how they handle the evidence sample and the tests and procedures undertaken by them.

Long Island and New York City Criminal Defense

The Law Offices of Schlissel DeCorpo represents individuals charged with crimes or who are being investigated for crimes. We are experienced in representing individuals charged with computer and internet crimesviolent crimes, white collar crimessex crimes, weapons possession, driving while intoxicated (DWI)shopliftingburglaryjuvenile offensesassault and batterydomestic violencedrug offenses and all other types of misdemeanors and felonies. Feel free to contact us for a free consultation.

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

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