Menu Contact
Robert D. DiDio & AssociatesRobert D. DiDio
& Associates
Call To Schedule An Appointment
917-300-0984
SERVING NEW YORK WITH INTEGRITY & COMMITMENT

Lying witnesses and wrongful convictions: A common problem

We have previously written about wrongful convictions that occur as the result of a false confession. Exoneration statistics have shown that in a surprising percentage of false convictions, suspects confess to a crime they didn't commit. This is usually because they have been coerced, lied to or threatened by police officers. Many suspects were unaware of their rights, including the right to an attorney.

But another major problem behind wrongful convictions is lying and false testimony by alleged witnesses. And sadly, the reasons for witness lying are nearly identical: threats, lies, bribes or promises made by police officers.

According to a recent news article, the problem of false testimony is pervasive enough that it has its own term: "testi-lying." The National Registry of Exonerations has chronicled more than 2,000 cases of wrongful conviction since 1989. In more than half of those cases, perjury and/or false accusations played a role.

Why would alleged witnesses be willing to lie? Common reasons given include:

  • Threats that police officers would prosecute the witness if he or she didn't agree to testify against the suspect
  • Lengthy, exhausting interrogation sessions that cause witnesses to become confused about what they did and didn't see.
  • Assurances or implications that prosecutors may overlook any unrelated criminal charges that the witness may be facing
  • Bribery in the form of cash
  • Bribery in the form of a reduced sentence or better prison accommodations (for alleged witnesses who are facing charges or have been convicted of other crimes

While it is common for witnesses to lie in court, it is also common for those same witnesses to recant their testimony years later. Unfortunately, recantation does not guarantee that the wrongfully convicted person will have their case reviewed or retried. And even when retrial is granted, it can take years.

Witness testimony is often unreliable - particularly in cases where no other evidence links a defendant to a crime. For this and many other reasons, you should seek the help of an experienced criminal defense attorney if you are facing criminal charges.

No Comments

Leave a comment
Comment Information

What Our Clients Say

  1. Pedro from Nassau County

    “I was arrested and charged with being the getaway driver during a knife point robbery. The police stopped my car a block away from the robbery with my co-defendant in the car with me. The victim identified my co-defendant to the police within 5 minutes of the robbery...

    - GREAT JOB MR. DiDIO!”
  2. Johnny From Astoria

    "Mr. DiDio represented me during a murder trial in 2008. I was acquitted of all charges and released from jail after a four-week trial. I am now pursuing a civil suit against the police to compensate me for the time I was wrongfully incarcerated. Mr. DiDio literally saved...

    - GREAT JOB MR. DiDIO!”
  3. Frank from South Jamaica

    “Narcotics officers from Queens County arrested me in front of my house and claimed I had pre-recorded buy money in my pocket after they said I sold cocaine to an undercover officer a few minutes earlier. I was not guilty of the charges and planned to go to trial to prove...

    - GREAT JOB MR. DiDIO!”
  4. Lamar from Brooklyn

    “The Special Narcotics Prosecutor in Manhattan indicted me for the possession of a large quantity of crack cocaine. The police officers claimed they saw me make a sale of cocaine to a female and while they were arresting me, they said a softball size bag of crack cocaine fell from...

    - GREAT JOB MR. DiDIO!”
  5. Pedro from Nassau County

    “I was arrested and charged with being the getaway driver during a knife point robbery. The police stopped my car a block away from the robbery with my co-defendant in the car with me. The victim identified my co-defendant to the police within 5 minutes of the robbery...

    - GREAT JOB MR. DiDIO!”
  6. Kenny From Jamaica Queens

    “I don’t know how to thank Mr. DiDio and his Staff. When I first hired the Law Office of Robert DiDio & Associates, I had two violent felony charges pending against me. I had little or no hope of avoiding significant jail time. My former attorney was encouraging me...

    - GREAT JOB MR. DiDIO!”
  7. Christian from Long Island

    "My mother hired Mr. DiDio to represent me for my first and only criminal case. I was charged with criminal possession of a loaded firearm and other minor charges. Prior to indictment the Prosecutor's Office offered me a plea bargain that would include me pleading guilty to...

    - GREAT JOB MR. DiDIO!”
Email Us For A Response

Tell Us About Your Case

Bold labels are required.

Contact Information
disclaimer.

The use of the Internet or this form for communication with the firm or any individual member of the firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Confidential or time-sensitive information should not be sent through this form.

close

Privacy Policy

Robert D. DiDio
& Associates

8002 Kew Gardens Road
Suite 307
Kew Gardens, NY 11415

Phone: 917-300-0984
Fax: 718-793-0165
Kew Gardens Law Office Map