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Saturday, June 16, 2012

Motion to Dismiss in Eyewitness Case

Eyewitness identification can be inherently flawed. A defense attorney knows that the probability of a prosecution witness identifying their client in the courtroom is high; there is only one person sitting next to you at counsel table. Usually not motivated by any bad faith, witnesses usually believe your client is the person. They just don't understand how complex identification cases are. For an example, click here to take a test to see how strong your identification is.

A few weeks ago I represented a client accused of common law robbery and misdemeanor assault in Mecklenburg County Juvenile Court. My client allegedly hit a young man and stole money from him in uptown Charlotte. The case rested upon the victim identifying my client. The victim identified my client the day of the crime-  My client was found approximately 1/2 mile away with a group of friends. His clothes allegedly matched what the victim believed his assailant was wearing.

At trial, the witness could not identify my client.  The victim seemed very confused about the whole incident. as there were multiple people around him when the crime occurred. The witness appeared to be truthful when he testified that he could not remember the events. What I thought was going to be somewhat of a lengthy trial with arguments over identification, elements of crimes and proof beyond a reasonable doubt turned into my motion to dismiss all charges being granted by the judge. It was a good result- something that doesn't always happen in identification cases.

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