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If Not Eyewitness Testimony, Then What?

Witness phone footage

When you plead not guilty to a crime and prepare for your trial, the prosecution must share with you all of the evidence that it plans to present to the jury in an effort to persuade them of your guilt. You have the right to review the evidence and think of arguments as to why it does not prove your guilt, or else to argue that it would be unfair and illegal for the prosecution to present the evidence at trial. Of course, the decision to acquit or to convict rests ultimately with the jury, so both sides are trying to make an impression on them, but they must do this within the confines of the law. Some pieces of evidence are highly memorable and emotionally affecting; you might even still remember evidence exhibits and witness testimony from televised trials that you saw on the news years ago.

A Texas criminal defense lawyer can help you present the clearest and most relevant evidence and can speak up against misleading or sensationalizing strategies by the prosecution.

Eyewitness Testimony Is Not Always a Slam Dunk

Eyewitness testimony tends not to make or break criminal cases today as often as it did in the days before technological advances such as video recording or DNA evidence. Plenty of defendants have been convicted of crimes to which there were no eyewitnesses; likewise, eyewitness testimony is not always enough to eliminate all reasonable doubt about the defendant’s guilt. Most people do not remember all the details of an event they witnessed unless they were making a specific effort to memorize it, and two people who witnessed the same event may recall it in different ways, leading to contradictory eyewitness testimony. Even worse, prosecutors sometimes sneakily word their questions in ways that make the witnesses’ answers sound more incriminating than if the witness had simply given an uninterrupted statement of his or her memories of the incident.

Other Types of Evidence That Can Be More Persuasive Than Eyewitness Testimony

In the age of smartphones, almost everyone you pass on the street has a video camera in his or her pocket. A lot of people’s response if they witness a crime is to record it. Furthermore, many places of business have surveillance cameras that record video footage, with or without audio. Just because it is obvious that the video depicts you, it is not a given that the video shows you doing what the prosecution says you were doing. Even DNA evidence does not mean anything other than that your DNA was in a certain place. Household dust is abundant with human skin cells, which contain DNA; the fact that you once rode in someone’s car does not mean that you are guilty of committing the crime with which you are charged on the date that you are accused of committing it.

Contact the Law Office of Patrick J. McLain, PLLC About Criminal Defense Cases

A Dallas criminal defense lawyer can help you think clearly about the evidence that the prosecution plans to use at your trial. Contact the Law Office of Patrick J. McLain, PLLC, in Dallas, Texas, to discuss your case.
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