In most, if not all, criminal cases, one of the most important issues is the identification of the defendant as the perpetrator of the crime.  In every case, the prosecutor has the burden of proving the identity of the defendant as the perpetrator beyond a reasonable doubt.

In Massachusetts, identification testimony is defined as an expression of belief or impression by a witness.  The value of identification testimony depends on the opportunity the witness had to observe the offender at the time of the offense, and to make a reliable identification later.

In appraising whether a witness' identification testimony of the defendant is adequate, a jury is asked to consider whether they are convinced that the witness had the capacity, and an adequate opportunity, to observe the person.  This depends on a number of factors, including how long or short a time was available for the observation; how far or close the witness was; the lighting conditions; the length of time that lapsed between the occurrence of the crime and the identification of the defendant; and whether the witness had occasion to see or know the defendant in the past.

In identification cases, an often attacked issue is whether the identification of the witness after the crime was the product of his own recollection, or if there were other influencing factors that call into question the accuracy of the identification.  For example, identifications made by picking out the defendant out of a photo-array or similar line-up are generally considered more reliable than those which result from the presentation of the defendant alone to the witness.

Boston Criminal Lawyer Lefteris K. Travayiakis has experience in successfully defending and obtaining acquittals after trial for Massachusetts crimes where the Defense of Identification was raised, as well as for other Defenses in Criminal CasesSee Case Results.

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