Evidence Involved in DC Burglary Cases

There are many different types of evidence that may be present in a burglary case. Very often, such evidence includes testimony from eye witnesses who may have been present during the burglary, or from police officers who may have taken statements from witnesses or the defendant.

Additional evidence prosecutors and DC burglary attorneys deal with may also include physical evidence, such as photographs of the scene of the burglary, fingerprints or DNA evidence that may have been taken from the scene, or any video surveillance footage that could have possibly captured the burglary in process.

Challenging Evidence In Court

Challenging this evidence requires the defense attorney to really understand the prosecutor’s theory of the case in a way that allows him or her to think about where the prosecutor’s weaknesses are and the reliability or credibility of his or her evidence.

As an example, if the prosecutor plans on calling an eye witness to an alleged burglary, then a defense attorney might want to look into who the witness is and the circumstances surrounding the witness’s presence near the scene of the alleged burglary. In this way, the defense attorney would examine whether there was anything that could have hindered the witness’s ability to properly view the supposed burglary, or whether anything happened on the scene that could have hindered the witness’s ability to properly identify the perpetrator of the supposed burglary.

A defense lawyer could also examine any physical or scientific evidence that a prosecutor plans on using in order to challenge the reliability of that evidence. As an example, if a prosecutor wants to use fingerprints that were found on the scene, then it is important for a defense attorney to make a jury aware of the scientific limitations of fingerprint identification. Fingerprint matches can often be an exact science that can potentially result in wrongful identification for crimes. A defense attorney must be able to properly raise such issues with the jury and know how to challenge a government expert’s testimony regarding the use of such fingerprints as evidence.

Overall it is important for a defense attorney to carefully inspect each element of the government’s case and make jury members aware of why they cannot necessarily be convinced that the government’s evidence proves the prosecutor’s case beyond a reasonable doubt.

Potential Issues With Evidence

A very important issue that has been getting a lot more attention over the past several years is how, in many circumstances, eye witness testimony can be one of the most unreliable forms of testimony. Even if a witness claims that he or she saw a crime being committed and claims that he or she can identify the person who committed that crime, there are a number of environmental and psychological factors that can make that identification much less reliable than one would immediately think.

Such unreliability can be due to such factors as the duration of time for which the witness saw the incident, the distance at which the witness saw the incident, and the emotional state of the witness while viewing the incident. All of these factors can make witness recollection—and, in turn, witness testimony—less reliable.

Witness recollections can also become less reliable as a result of coercive or inaccurate identification lineups or photograph identification procedures. If a witness thinks that he or she may have seen who committed a burglary and then is asked to identify that individual based on a photograph, the manner in which the police officers conduct that photographic identification procedure can accidentally or unintentionally coerce the witness into mistakenly identifying the wrong person.

In this way, the procedures police officers use for perpetrator identification can lead witnesses to give unreliable testimony and can result in the wrong person being accused and convicted. Because of this, it is important for a defense attorney to challenge any identification procedures and to challenge the memory of any eye witnesses in order to ensure an unreliable witness is not simply taken at his or her word by the judge or the jury.