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Mistaken Identification is Not Out of the Ordinary

An issue that continues to challenge Sacramento criminal defense attorneys is wrongful conviction. The most common cause of wrongful convictions is mistaken identification. If the prosecution heavily relies on a stranger’s account identifying you as the one who committed the crime, it could be very detrimental to your case. This is because witness identification is not always reliable. For example, some eyewitnesses can have a fuzzy recollection of the events that transpired. In one reported incident in Baltimore in 2002, an eyewitness identified a man in a photo lineup as the perpetrator. Unfortunately, the alleged perpetrator had actually been dead for over a year before the crime was committed.

Another reason that some misidentifications occur is the use of leading questions during eyewitness questioning. Leading questions can have the effect of distorting an eyewitness’ memory. In one research study conducted by University of Washington Affiliate Professor of Law, Elizabeth F. Loftus it was found that using suggestive language could affect how a witness remembered things. Asking witnesses “How fast were the cars going when they smashed into each other?” led to higher estimates of speed than if the question substituting a more neutral verb like hit.

Another thing that makes witness misidentification so powerful is that it is rarely reviewable during the appeals process. This issue has been highly debated by commentators and lawyers, including Sacramento criminal defense attorneys, since the early 20th century. In recent years, the legal system is showing that it is open to new and effective remedies to witness misidentification. For example, law enforcement is becoming more amenable to adopting more reliable identification procedures. Even some courts are now allowing the defense to participate in pre-trial identification procedure discussions and allowing expert testimony that exposes potential weaknesses of eyewitness identification testimony.

If you believe you may be on the receiving end of mistaken identification, please contact dedicated Sacramento criminal defense attorney Param Pabla for a case evaluation.

Client Reviews
“Mr. Pabla represented me with my DUI case. He has excellent communication skills and always kept me informed. Mr. Pabla made sure I understood the process and my rights. He eased my mind through a very stressful situation. I highly recommend Mr. Pabla.” Gurpreet
“I am so happy with the service that I received from Param S. Pabla. Jarrett did a great job solving my legal issue and I can’t recommend him enough! He was able to do everything quickly, painlessly, and was ALWAYS available to talk when I needed him. If I ever need help again, I will definitely use him!" Boris
“Param was excellent in my court case of failure to stop at a stop sign. The officer could not see clearly because he was too far away. The officer insisted he could and said he had video but could not produce it at the trial. The officer then asked if he could suspend the trial to go get the video but the judge said he should have had plenty of time to get the video ready beforehand. Needless to say, the judge ruled in my favor and dismissed the case which enraged the officer. Pabla Param’s defense and cross examination skills were excellent and paramount in having the case dismissed. Highly recommended.” T.C.
“My husband and I needed to update everything -family trust, will, medical stuff. Param was really patient -answering all my questions -even when I asked them twice. He wanted to be sure I understood everything we were doing. All docs were sent to us so we could go through them on our own time before anything was finalized. I also liked when we were looking at medical stuff that he had a conversation with me about what I wanted and pointed out some things I didn’t think of.” Debbie