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During the course on an investigation, police in New Jersey will often perform numerous tasks aimed at discovering the identity of those suspected of a crime, including interviewing bystanders who may have witnessed the event or know something of the situation. In some cases, police will rely on this information to make and arrest, which can lead to charges against a defendant. Whether resulting in a charge such as aggravated assault or a different violent crime, because the stakes are high - and the consequence severe - such evidence must be tested at trial to ensure those charged receive fair treatment.

According to a recent news report, a 25-year-old Trenton, New Jersey man was arrested for attempted murder, following a tragic shooting near Sanford Street and Brunswick Avenue. According to the Prosecutor, the 25-year-old was picked up after he returned to the scene to retrieve shell casings. The Prosecutor also claims that an eyewitness positively identified the man as the shooter, despite the fact that the shooter was said to be wearing a ski mask.

Law enforcement responded around 1:15 a.m., following reports of shots fired. When police arrived on the scene, an acquaintance had already taken the gun shot victim to Capital Health Regional Medical Center. The 24-year-old gun shot victim was hit 8 times at close range, according to investigators. Prosecutors charged the alleged shooter with multiple offenses. including attempted murder, weapons charges and tampering with state evidence.

In this case and many others, eyewitness testimony may serve as the cornerstone of the prosecutor's case. However, these accounts must be reviewed in detail and every element challenged to ensure the witness is both telling the truth and certain of their story. The truth is that people can make mistakes in identifying others, and with the stakes so high, it is vital that the veracity of this type of evidence is assured or exposed for its shortcomings. For a person simply in the wrong place at the wrong time, challenging the witness's account could be the difference between a criminal conviction and exoneration.

Source: The Times of Trenton, "Bail kept at $350,000 for Trenton man charged with attempted murder," Jenna Pizzi, March 21, 2013.

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