4 Facts About Mistaken Identity


Mistaken identity is a defense in criminal law which claims the actual innocence of the criminal defendant, and attempts to undermine evidence of guilt by asserting that any eyewitness to the crime incorrectly thought that they saw the defendant, when in fact the person seen by the witness was someone else.

A defendant is a person or entity accused of a crime in criminal prosecution or a person or entity against whom some type of civil relief is being sought in a civil case.

Actual innocence is a state of affairs in which a defendant in a criminal case is innocent of the charges against them because he or she did not commit the crime accused.

Criminal law or Penal law is the body of law that relates to crime.

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The defendant may question both the memory of the witness, and the perception of the witness.

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Because the prosecution in a criminal case must prove the guilt of the accused beyond a reasonable doubt, the defendant must convince the jury that there is reasonable doubt about whether the witness actually saw what he or she claims to have seen, or recalls having seen.

The prosecutor is the chief legal representative of the prosecution in countries with either the common law adversarial system, or the civil law inquisitorial system.

A jury is a sworn body of people convened to render an impartial verdict officially submitted to them by a court, or to set a penalty or judgment.

Reasonable doubt is a term used in jurisdiction of Anglo-Saxon countries.


Although scientific studies have shown that mistaken identity is a common phenomenon, jurors give very strong credence to eyewitness testimony, particularly where the eyewitness is resolute in believing that their identification of the defendant was correct.

Eyewitness testimony is the account a bystander or victim gives in the courtroom, describing what that person observed that occurred during the specific incident under investigation.

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