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Can someone be convicted solely on the eyewitness testimony of one witness?

Posted by Andrew Segal | Nov 03, 2017 | 0 Comments

 The real question is whether one witness can prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, that someone committed the crime.

 The answer is yes. 

 To give an unpleasant (but true) example, when I was in the District Attorney's office we had a rape case. The evidence consisted solely of the testimony of the victim. There was no DNA, no fingerprints, no physical evidence. There was no evidence other than her eyewitness testimony describing the rapist.

  Can that be enough? Absolutely…  if it is believed by the jury. 

 In this case, the victim testified the rapist had “Bitch Switch “tattooed on his penis.

 He did.

 While this is a dramatic example, it's not far different from an eyewitness identifying someone saying that they had any particular set of features whether it's deep-set eyes, facial hair, scar, a particular height or weight or other things. If the jury is convinced beyond a reasonable doubt that the accuser is identifying the "right guy" there is nothing preventing that jury from finding the person guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

 Are innocent men and women convicted based on incorrect eyewitness identification? Yes. In fact, DNA has freed many people who were wrongly convicted. But, the question here is can someone be convicted on the testimony of one eyewitness? The answer is yes; if that testimony is believed the person can be convicted.

 The moral of the story is that if you or somebody you love is accused of a crime they need to have the best possible criminal defense attorney.

Of course, if you'd like to talk to us our contact information is here:

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About the Author

Andrew Segal

Andrew Segal is a former judge and prosecutor who now represents the accused as a criminal defense attorney in Huntsville, Alabama, area courts. Andrew graduated cum laude from Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine, in 1982. and Washington College of Law at American University in 1988.


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