What does Witness mean?
A witness is a person who testifies in court about something they have seen, heard, or in which they have direct knowledge. In a criminal case a subpoena is issued by both the defense and prosecution for witnesses they believe can help with their case.
Witnesses must appear in court at the date and time listed on the subpoena and must take an oath to tell the truth. Witnesses who lie in court may be charged with perjury. There are several types of witnesses in a criminal case including eye witnesses, who testify to what they have observed about the crime, expert witnesses, who are supposed to have superior knowledge about a specific topic, or character witnesses, who testify to the character of a person.
The validity of eye witness testimony has been an on-going debate in the legal community. Many experts complain that personal bias, inaccurate memories, habits, and age can all affect the accuracy of eye witness testimony. According to the Innocence project, "Eyewitness misidentification is the single greatest cause of wrongful convictions nationwide, playing a role in more than 75% of convictions overturned through DNA testing."