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Witness Identification in Criminal Cases

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Jury acquits Pa. man who uses wiry hair defense

Published: Feb 17, 2011

DOYLESTOWN, Pa. (AP) - A Philadelphia man's wiry hair has helped him beat a robbery rap.

The evidence against Timothy Corbett included surveillance footage and an eyewitness account, but his defense was that his stiff hair didn't match the tousled appearance of the man in the video. The Bucks County jury agreed Wednesday, finding him not guilty of charges including robbery and terroristic threats.

Defense attorney Louis Busico tugged on his client's hair during closing arguments, telling the jury that if he couldn't move it there was no way Corbett was the man with the mussed locks in the video.

Corbett had been charged with robbing the Bensalem convenience store on April 24.

Assistant District Attorney Christopher Rees says prosecutors believed the evidence was solid but the jury found there was reasonable doubt.

Composite sketches of the offender have been used for identification purposes, as have scientifically adduced evidence based on blood, hair, urine, and saliva samples, and DNA/RFLP testing or "DNA fingerprinting" is admissible as a form of identification. Before scientifically adduced evidence may be considered admissible, it must first be shown that it has gained general acceptance in the particular field to which it belongs.

I witness testimony is not infallible, as illustrated by this case. The time, lighting, witness concerns (glasses, elderly) and ethnicity may all play a part in the validity and accuracy of witness identifications.

Contact legal counsel immediately if you believe you are the subject of an investigation. Get experienced legal assistance by contacting Shaffer & Engle Law Offices, LLC at www.shafferengle.com or toll free at 1-866-765-0706.

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