Eyewitness Identification, Miranda and Your Rights

…but it wasn’t me! I wasn’t there! The witness is lying! I am innocent! Eyewitness identification is never a certain thing, at least when the ID is not made by someone who was already familiar with the person they are identifying. The problem a person faces who is charged with a crime based on a ‘stranger-to-stranger’ identification is whether to remain silent to protect their constitutional rights, or, to give up their constitutional rights to remain silent and not become a witness against themselves, along with giving up their concomitant right to counsel. Sometimes it is very hard choice, especially where you believe yourself innocent and really want to tell ‘their side of what happened’ or to explain where they actually were to show that the witness is ‘lying’ when they made the ID. eyewitness identificationJust because you give up your rights and give a statement to the police does not mean you are ‘un-arrested’ or that the charges are dropped. The police do not get to decide who to prosecute, only the prosecuting authority can make that decision. By the time your statement is evaluated against the eyewitness identification and other evidence that makes you a suspect, your case is weeks, even months old, and your right to remain silent which was voluntarily waived to assert your innocence cannot be re-asserted to support a valid Motion to Suppress based on a Miranda violation…since you made a conscious decision to give them up. Lastly, you made a statement without any idea of what the proofs against you were, so what you did say may or may not help your actual defense. Eyewitness identification not withstanding, the most important things you can do when charged with or accused of a crime, is to say I WANT A LAWYER, and I WANT TO REMAIN SILENT.

Howard W. Bailey, Esq.
550 Broad Street, Suite 601
Newark, NJ 07102