FARMINGTON — A defense attorney has turned to an expert witness in effort to show his client was misidentified as a robbery suspect.
Michael Edwards asked Dr. David Dodd, a retired University of Utah psychology professor who is known as an expert in the field of eyewitness identification, to review the procedure police used to identify Raymond Joseph Emmett.
Emmett, 32, is charged with one count of first-degree felony aggravated robbery, one count of third-degree felony possession of a dangerous weapon by a restricted person and class A misdemeanor burglary of a vehicle.
Another hearing is set for Oct. 17 to give prosecutors time to review a report written by Dodd.
Layton police said Emmett was caught inside a car by the car’s owner and her boyfriend in the early morning hours of March 31. The couple said the man inside the car threatened them with a knife after they shut the car’s door and wouldn’t let him out. When he did get out of the car, he again threatened the couple with a knife.
The male victim said in a preliminary hearing that he identified Emmett as the suspect after police showed him six photographs that were put on one page.
Edwards said Emmett “has maintained he’s the not man” who was inside the car.
Edwards contacted Dodd, and Dodd is questioning the procedure of the lineup.
Edwards said research has shown the best way to identify a suspect through a photo lineup is showing victims one photo at a time.
Edwards said Emmett’s photo on the page shown the victims was “brighter than the other five photographs.”
Edwards said he is also questioning how good the eyewitness is to the case because the lighting was poor and the witnesses were focused on the weapon used, not on the face of the suspect.
Edwards said his client wants to go to trial to proof his innocence, but “he has to weigh the risk of going to trial to the repugnant choice of pleading guilty to something he didn’t do.”