Illinois Supreme Court recognizes the obvious – eyewitnesses don’t really remember that well
About a year ago, the Illinois Supreme Court gave their approval to a key new tool for defendants and their lawyers in Illinois. Used properly and in the right cases, the new court ruling could change the way cases involving eyewitness testimony are litigated, and gave those accused of crimes by eyewitnesses a new way to challenge their memory.
In People v. Lerma, the Illinois Supreme Court decided that a defendant accused of a crime in a case where the evidence against him or her is mostly eyewitness testimony (as in, there is little physical evidence and the defendant hasn’t confessed to the crime), the defendant should be permitted to challenge that eyewitness testimony by calling an expert to the stand to inform the jury just how unreliable eyewitnesses and their memories can be. The case is an important new development in the law – previously, defendants were very limited in their way to inform the jury just how unreliable eyewitness testimony can be. Now, Lerma changes things.
The Supreme Court recognized that extensive research has been done on the reliability of eyewitnesses and their ability to accurately remember information they’ve seen, then later testify about it. Much of that research has determined just how unreliable – and how incorrect – eyewitness testimony can be. Having determined this, the Court then decided that in cases which primarily rest on eyewitness testimony, defendants can now call experts to the stand to tell the jury just how unreliable they can be.
What does this mean for someone accused by an eyewitness of a crime? It means you have a powerful new tool, and in the hands of an experienced trial attorney, it can be a great benefit. The attorneys at the Law Offices of Joshua Kutnick have experience with both experts and requesting the funds to pay for such experts, if you are unable to do so. Contact our firm today and ask if an eyewitness may be able to help prove your innocence if you’re facing criminal charges.