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William Wallshein P.A Motto

Eyewitness Testimony Is Overrated


If you have gotten far enough in your criminal case that you have met with a defense attorney, then you probably know that most defendants plead guilty, and only a small percentage of cases go to trial.  Some defendants plead guilty because they readily admit fault and believe that, since a guilty plea usually leads to a lighter sentence, pleading guilty is the fastest way to put their criminal case behind them and get a fresh start at living a law-abiding life.  Others plead guilty because prosecutors intimidate them, and public defenders do not thoroughly discuss possible defenses; as unfair as it is, this happens often, because public defenders have such an unmanageable caseload.  Sometimes, though, defendants initially enter a not guilty plea, but when they see the evidence that the prosecution plans to present, they decide that there is no way to establish reasonable doubt about their guilt.  When you examine the evidence more carefully, though, it turns out that hardly any piece of evidence is a slam dunk.  To find out more about defenses you can use in the face of apparently compelling evidence, contact a West Palm Beach criminal defense lawyer.

Believe Half of What You See and None of What You Hear

You might think that, because a witness takes the stand and claims to have seen you commit the crime, then the jury will have no choice to convict you, but this is not always the case.  Most of the time, people’s memories of events they have witnessed are insufficiently detailed to erase reasonable doubt.  For example, two people who witnessed the same incident may recall it in mutually contradictory ways.  Some fascinating studies have shown that eyewitness testimony is not as reliable as people commonly assume.  Furthermore, even if the witness leaves no doubt that the person he or she saw was you, this alone does not prove that what the witness saw you doing fits the definition of the criminal offense with which you are being charged.

Other Types of Evidence Are Overrated, Too

Eyewitness testimony is only as reliable as the human being presenting it, and humans are, by nature, imperfect.  Did you know that other types of evidence which are so technologically advanced that they cannot lie or forget are also capable of leaving room for reasonable doubt?  For example, it may be possible to interpret surveillance camera footage or archived text messages in more than one way.  Even the existence of DNA evidence does not always mean an inevitable conviction.  If your DNA was somewhere, it only proves that you or one of your possessions was in a particular place at some time before the crime lab collected the DNA sample.  DNA is abundant in dead skin cells, which adhere to everything we touch and form the main component of household dust.  If your DNA was in your former friend’s car, it could mean that you once borrowed a book from her and then returned it, and she transported the book in her car; it does not necessarily mean that you assaulted her in her car.

Contact a West Palm Beach Criminal Defense Lawyer Today

Attorney William Wallshein has more than 38 years of experience, including five years as a prosecutor in Palm Beach County.  Contact William Wallshein P.A. in West Palm Beach, Florida to discuss your case.


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