Jim Ryan & Associates
Free Consultation:
877-674-6231

The weight of eyewitness testimony in a criminal trial

Eyewitness testimony is a critical part of many criminal trials in Illinois and across the country. People who were present at the scene of the crime often tell their accounts of what happened when the crime occurred. The judges and juries listening to these eyewitness accounts place heavy weight on the details of their stories. In fact, testimonies may sway the jury to declare the defendant guilty or not guilty, simply based on the account of one or more people. What many people don't realize, however, is that many of these accounts are not accurate and are often unreliable when it comes to giving solid facts regarding the crime. Eyewitness misidentification, environmental influences and limitations of the human memory can all cause errors and potentially send an innocent person to prison.

One study looked at the influence that eyewitness testimony has on jurors and their decisions regarding a crime. In one case, jurors were presented with circumstantial evidence of a robbery-murder. Approximately 18 percent of these jurors came back with a guilty verdict. During the second case, the same circumstantial evidence of the same crime was presented to the jury, with a single eyewitness testimony added to the case. A clerk who was at the scene of the crime named the suspect as the perpetrator. A surprising 72 percent of the jurors came back with a guilty verdict in this instance.

Multiple studies show how flaws in the eyewitness identification process, including misleading comments made by lineup administrators and time elapsed between the crime and the date of the lineup, can cause a witness to choose the wrong person out of a lineup. 

No Comments

Leave a comment
Comment Information

Contact Our Firm

Bold labels are required.

Contact Information
disclaimer.

The use of the Internet or this form for communication with the firm or any individual member of the firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Confidential or time-sensitive information should not be sent through this form.

close

Privacy Policy

Email Us For A Response

1555 Bond St
Suite 103
Naperville, IL 60563

Toll Free: 877-674-6231
Phone: 630-687-1597
Fax: 630-596-9402
Naperville Law Office Map

The Law Office of Gregory N. Smith
The weight of eyewitness testimony in a criminal trial | Jim Ryan & Associates