Daniel Gigiano Reviews Unreliable Identifications
Attorney Daniel Gigiano reviews the use of unreliable identifications in criminal trials. If the identification is very unreliable, it should not be used. Allowing unreliable identifications can result in innocent people being convicted of crimes they did not commit.
Unreliable Identifications Cannot Be Used At A Criminal TrialIf the identification procedure used by the police is suggestive and unnecessary, it is a violation of the accused person's rights. The courts look at the corrupting effect of the suggestive identification against the witness's ability to make an accurate identification. Even if the witness had an adequate opportunity to view a suspect, the later use of a highly suggestive identification procedure can make the witness' testimony inadmissible.
Unreliable Identification FactorsCourts consider a number of factors, including:
(1) opportunity of the witness to view the criminal a the time of the crime;
(2) the witness' degree of attention;
(3) the accuracy of the witness' prior description of the criminal;
(4) the level of certainty demonstrated by the witness at the confrontation; and
(5) the length of time between the crime and the confrontation.
Attorney Daniel Gigiano Succesfully Challenged The Ohio State Patrol's Faulty ProceduresDespite the fact that this has been the law since the 1970's, the Ohio State Patrol, as late as 2006, was presenting single photo line-ups to witnesses. To make matters worse, this was standard protocol. Attorney Daniel Gigiano successfully challenged the Ohio State Patrol's procedures. The Medina Common Pleas judge suppressed the identification of the accused person because the one photo line up did not amount to real identification, but simply planted the image of the intended suspect into the witness's mind. Even if the witness could identify the suspect at trial, there would be no way of knowing if it was a real identification or the result of the faulty line-up. So, the court upheld the notion that unreliable identifications cannot be used at trial. This set the stage for the subsequent trial on a felony theft charge in which a verdict of not guilty was issued by the jury.
A Good Lineup Is Really Just Common SenseHow should a photo line-up be conducted? With multiple photographs. We all grew up watching crime shows and movies with numerous people in a line up. Those line ups work. Of course, even multiple photographs can be rigged. If the witness gives a description of the suspect and only one photograph matches the description, the line up may still be unnecessarily suggestive.