People convicted of a felony crime in Texas face fines, a lengthy jail or prison sentence and having a felony conviction on their criminal records. These penalties are things that most people would prefer to avoid if possible. It can be very important to challenge prosecutors when they try to present sketchy evidence to judges and juries. Allegations of robbery from a Texas community show the kind of questionable evidence that is sometimes relied upon by prosecutors.
According to news reports, on May 14 a man entered a Texas credit union and presented a note demanding money. Shortly thereafter, a man with a similar description was allegedly seen fleeing the credit union. An eyewitness provided a physical description of the man to police, and police released what they said was an image of the perpetrator from a surveillance video taken near the scene.
It is important to keep in mind that just because a surveillance video exists, doesn’t mean that the images captured are that of the accused. Moreover, there is a danger that the widespread dissemination of the video image could taint the memories of eyewitnesses, causing them to misremember the physical description of the actual robber.
This is an example of the kind of situation where the intervention of a defense attorney could provide an alternative explanation to that of the prosecution. Effective challenging of evidence on evidentiary and constitutional grounds can also be the difference between a routine conviction and an acquittal. Cross-examination of witnesses can reveal weaknesses in statements they made to the prosecution during direct examination. Attention to details such as these often provide defendants with a stronger case.
Source: kiiitv.com, “Surveillance Images released in South-side Bank Robbery,” May 19, 2016