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Witness identification challenges the criminal defense

Eyewitness accounts are often unreliable. In entirely too many cases over the years, eyewitness testimony has been shown to be false or erroneous, often because defendants are able to establish without doubt that they were elsewhere when a crime was allegedly committed. Even so, once a witness identification has been made in Connecticut, it can be very difficult to refute. An effective criminal defense is likely based upon a good understanding of the relevant laws in witness identification.

In a recent arrest, a man was charged with first degree robbery, along with some lesser charges. The crime was described as stealing less than one hundred dollars from an older woman. During the course of the incident, it is said that he threatened her with a knife.

The defendant is then accused of running from the scene of the incident. Thereafter, he was located in a nearby apartment building. The investigation is presumably ongoing, but it was not stated if the accused man was found by authorities or by the woman. It is claimed that the woman identified the defendant at the apartment building shortly after the incident.

While the details of the incident are not fully clear, the nature of the identification itself may be questionable. If the defendant was not familiar with her assailant, a legally admissible identification may require a lineup of some kind to reduce the likelihood of bias. The unusual circumstances of this investigation may leave a defendant many avenues to oppose the charges against him. One possibility that a Connecticut defendant might choose to pursue is to challenge the witness's identification in order to potentially present a stronger criminal defense.

Source: cbslocal.com, "Arrest Made In New Haven, Hamilton Street Armed Robbery," Jan. 27, 2013

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