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A St. Augustine Attorney Discusses Whether an Identification Procedure Violates Due Process

Procedures used for government identification can violate a person's protection under the due process clause, which basically ensures that all the legal rights afforded to a person are respected. A St. Augustine attorney can explain that the Supreme Court has a rule that essentially states that if a government identification process is needlessly suggestive and increases the risk of misidentifying a person, it violates due process. 

Under this standard, a court needs to question whether the process was evocative and whether the government had a reason for not using a less suggestive process. A St. Augustine lawyer can tell you that the second section of the standard looks at whether the process intended to lead to a mistaken identification or significantly increased the chances of a misidentification. If this is admitted, due process was violated.

A Second Chance

Despite the court finding an identification process suggestive, federal law and laws in every state but Massachusetts, New York and Wisconsin, allows the government a second chance to have the identifications-those in and out of court-admitted. A St. Augustine attorney can tell you that if the government can prove that due to all circumstances involved, the identification can be trusted despite the overly suggestive procedure that was used.

In these situations, the court looks at a number of factors, including the witness' chance to see the offender during the crime. A St. Augustine attorney can also tell you that the court will look at how much attention the witness paid, the certainty of the witness' description of the offender, the certainty level showed at the encounter and the time that elapsed between the crime and the conflict. The court must weigh these circumstances against the procedure used. A St. Augustine attorney can explain that in Massachusetts and New York, a pretrial identification is thrown out once it is demonstrated that the process used was needlessly suggestive. Then, the responsibility is on the prosecutors to find another way to have the in-court identification admitted. In Wisconsin, these types of identifications aren't admitted into court unless prosecuting attorneys can show that all circumstances involved made it essential.

Contact a St. Augustine Attorney for Legal Help

Due process may have been violated if the government identification procedure was overly suggestive. If you have legal questions related to criminal charges, call a St. Augustine lawyer by contacting the attorneys at Canan Law at 904-824-9402.

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