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Wrongful Convictions: The Problem With Eye Witnesses

Okabe & Haushalter Aug 31, 2011 Criminal Defense

Just because a case has been closed does not mean that justice has been served. In fact, with the increasing use of DNA testing, it has unfortunately come to light that many criminal convictions were wrongful and that the wrong person was serving the sentence. According to the Innocent Project, a litigation group dedicated to exonerating the innocent, there has been a harrowing 273 post-conviction DNA exonerations in the United States; of these over 15 had served time on death row.

In all of these cases, one of the greatest causes of the wrongful conviction rested with eyewitness misidentification. It was determined that while this type of evidence is often seen as persuasive and strong evidence, it does not necessarily mean that it is reliable – in fact, when the circumstances were wrong, witnesses could be dead wrong.

In many if not most of these situations, the witness was not looking to wrongfully accuse the convicted. Poorly lit rooms, distance and emotional stress can all lead a witness to make a wrong identification. When they receive positive affirmation, this wavering thought can turn into concrete belief – cementing over time despite the initial uncertainty. The problem lies in the fact that this procedure can leave the innocent suffering with a wrongful conviction.

At Okabe and Haushalter, we know the criminal process – we know that the laws that are created to help people can unfortunately hurt them as well. Should you choose to work with a Los Angeles criminal defense lawyer from our firm, you will be able to rest easier knowing that you will have a dedicated advocate on your side firmly committed to your case. So don’t wait – contact a Los Angeles criminal attorney from our legal team as soon as possible and schedule your initial case consultation. We know what is on the line and we will fight to help you protect your rights.