According to the Salem News, last week a Beverly, Massachusetts man went into a Tedeschi convenience store wearing a mask and a hoodie. The store clerk was arranging items in the store. He heard someone come into the store. He then saw a man carrying a large semiautomatic weapon demanding money. He complied with the demand and gave the robber between one hundred fifty and two hundred dollars. When he realized exactly how much money he got the defendant expressed disappointment and fled. No arrest was made that day. By the way, the store clerk never saw the face of the man. A few days later the clerk believed that he saw the person who had committed the Armed Robbery just outside of the store. The reason he thought this was the culprit: the man was wearing the same pants and had the same gait. The police obtained an arrest warrant and on Saturday the defendant was arrested. The case is currently being prosecuted in the Salem District Court. Bail was set in the amount of ten thousand dollars.
A central issue to many criminal cases in Massachusetts is the identification of the accused as the person who committed the crime alleged. In Massachusetts it is the obligation of the district attorney to prove identification beyond a reasonable doubt. Mistaken identifications are not uncommon making your choice of a Massachusetts Criminal Lawyer one of paramount importance. Since the arrival of DNA testing there are many people who have been freed from jails and had convictions reversed. Many of these convictions were based on eyewitness identifications that were made in error. I sometimes wonder whether some of these convictions could have been avoided with a better attack on the identification testimony.
Jurors in Massachusetts are instructed on the issue of identification if it becomes a live issue at the time of trial. Judges tell jurors that the witness must have had an adequate opportunity to observe the defendant. Jurors can consider a lapse of time from the time of the commission of the crime until the identification was made. Similarities between the person identified and other people who might have been near the crime scene or had the motive to commit the crime can also be a factor that impacts jury deliberations. An initial failure to make an identification is a factor to scrutinize when deciding guilt or innocence in a case such as this one.
The defendant referenced in this article has a lot work with in terms of presenting his defense. His lawyer did an excellent job arguing mistaken identification issues. I am surprised that the bail was set so high in this case given the suggested weakness of the identification. It would not surprise me to see the bail lowered in this case. I have had cases like this one and tried them to an acquittal. Mistaken identification cases require the services of an Experienced Massachusetts Lawyer.