We sometimes hear the phrase that a criminal suspect got off on a technicality. We probably hear this more often on movies and television than in reference to an actual criminal trial here in Las Vegas. But when it is a reference to a real-world occurrence that is being referred to a technicality, it is often referencing a situation in which someone's constitutional rights have been violated. This might include an illegal search or seizure by the government or an infringement of their constitutional rights and due process under the law.
We entrust an enormous amount of power to the criminal justice system, it can deprive us of our liberty and life. That is why the constitutional protections against police and prosecutorial misconduct are so important. Police and prosecutors are only human and can make mistakes or try to supplant their own judgment for that of the court.
Constitutional protections must be vigorously protected in a system which often seems to be stacked against someone who has been accused of a crime. Witnesses against a suspect may be motivated by influences other than telling the truth, they may themselves be attempting to cooperate to reduce their own sentence.
Even in situations in which a witness is not being purposefully dishonest, witness identification of suspects is notoriously error prone. This is even more prevalent when the witness and the suspect are not of the same ethnic or racial background.
Source: MPR News, "Is the criminal justice system as good as you think it is?" John Radsan, May 10, 2012