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When to fear flawed trial testimony

Both individuals who have been accused of criminal wrongdoing and their loved ones may be understandably anxious about the ins and outs of the criminal process. In recent years, the media has done an adequate job of educating the public about many of the flaws that seem to plague the trial process. For example, flaws in the weight of eyewitness testimony, overstated forensic expertise and other testimony challenges are becoming more widely understood.

Although shining a light on these problems is a welcome development, education alone does not aid those who may be affected by flawed trial testimony. This situation illustrates why it is so imperative for individuals accused of criminal wrongdoing to seek the counsel of experienced criminal defense attorneys. These advocates can help to both explain the challenges of the process and can help to mitigate any consequences that flawed trial testimony may produce for a defendant.

In short, fearing that the criminal justice process may be flawed is not only normal it may be beneficial. Cultivating a grounded sense that the process is not perfect highlights the reality that much is at stake when navigating that process. If one attempts to respond to criminal charges without the advocacy of an attorney who is well-versed in the process and is aware of its flaws, that individual may ultimately regret his or her decision to “go it alone.”

Ultimately, the only time one needs to significantly fear flawed trial testimony and other imperfections of the criminal justice process is when one is not prepared to respond to them in an informed and aggressive fashion.

Source: Slate, "Pseudoscience in the Witness Box," Dahlia Lithwick, April 22, 2015

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