Dusek Law - Criminal Defense
Your DUI Pro
Weekends & Evening Appointments
Available 24 Hours
Free Consultation 701-746-4107
Toll Free 877-387-3524

Know Your Rights!
Call Us First.

Our Goal is to Exceed the Expectations of Our Clients

Lineups may produce unreliable results in a MN court case

Although there are flaws in the eyewitness identification process, these IDs are admissible in court and may lead to the wrongful conviction of an innocent person.

A number of courts in Minnesota and across the country allow the use of eyewitness identification and testimony as admissible evidence in a criminal trial. Studies show that this information, however, is inherently unreliable and may be inaccurate. According to the Innocence Project, 330 people were exonerated from their prison sentences after they were found to be innocent of the crime they were convicted of. Of these cases, 70 percent involved people who were misidentified by an eyewitness. Countless more people wait behind bars, hoping that DNA evidence will prove their innocence as well.

When eyewitness IDs go wrong

According to the American Bar Association, there are many factors that reduce the reliability of eyewitness identifications and testimony. Flaws in the lineup process make up just a portion of the fallibilities; however, these errors are indicative of a much larger problem.

Lineup administrators who have prior knowledge of a crime may inadvertently or intentionally guide witnesses to select a certain person out of the lineup. This may be done by making a simple comment before or after the witness makes a choice. In order to prevent this from happening, lineups should be conducted by blind administrators, or people who have no former knowledge of the crime. Witnesses should be told that the perpetrator may or may not be included in the lineup. In some states, lineup procedures must be taped and made available to the prosecution, defense and the judge presiding over a criminal case.

Problems can also occur when a lineup is not organized properly. For example, if a victim said that his or her perpetrator was bald and had a tattoo, there should be more than one person included in the lineup that has those characteristics. In photo lineups, all of the pictures should be similar in size and have the same color. If one picture is in color and the others are in black and white, the witness may be more likely to choose the picture that is different.

Other factors to consider

Other factors that people should consider when looking at the accuracy of eyewitness identification include the following:

  • How much time has passed from when the crime occurred until the time the witness was asked to make an ID?
  • How much lighting was present when the crime occurred?
  • What was the distance between the witness and the perpetrator?
  • Was the perpetrator wearing a disguise or mask?
  • Was a weapon used during the crime?

These factors could result in a misidentification and possibly, a wrongful conviction.

Getting reliable legal counsel

People who have been charged with a crime may be scared, overwhelmed and unsure of where to turn to next. You need someone who is able to answer your questions and help you explore your legal options. A criminal attorney in Minnesota can listen to the details of your case, and may be able to formulate a strong defense.

Image

Our Blog

Fargo woman charged with DUI

Police officers in Fargo recently arrested a woman for driving under the influence after they say she was seen driving in the wrong direction. She has been charged with DUI and other offenses as a result of this arrest. If convicted, the penalties may be severe....

Fleeing the scene of a DUI stop will add to the charges against you

When a Grand Forks police officer or North Dakota state trooper pulls you over on the highway or a local road, it is natural to feel nervous. The shock of realizing that the police car's flashing lights and siren are for you can make the adrenaline flow. If you...

4 ways a criminal charge can stall your career growth

Criminal charges often have specific penalties attached to them. Everything from the nature of the offense to a person's previous record will influence what penalties they face and the severity of the charges. Criminal acts can result in many different penalties,...

Open alcohol containers in vehicles and North Dakota law

In North Dakota, the general rule for open containers of alcohol in motor vehicles is: don't do it. However, when you look more closely at the law, the rule is not quite that simple. There are exceptions that could apply to your case, if you are ever charged with...

Charged with assault?

Threatening and attacking another person is not something you ever thought you or your loved one would be accused of doing, but here you are. You or they are facing assault charges as a result, for which the consequences in North Dakota can be quite severe. What can...

Image

Articles