Eyewitness testimony has long been viewed as important evidence in court cases. The general population believes eyewitness identification more than any other evidence, even if the witness account is conflicting with the other evidence presented. Studies show that eyewitness testimony is unreliable, and yet it is still considered the most important form of evidence. People think that if a person says they saw something then it must have happened. Currently there are no universal guidelines on how to obtain and present such evidence. The purpose of this paper is to explain why eyewitness testimony is unreliable, and discuss the proposed guidelines on how law enforcement agencies should gather identifications, as well how
Research shows that jurors place more value on eyewitness testimony than any other important form of evidence, including DNA. (Anderson, T. M.,2015). More often than we might think, the eyewitness testimony is false, ultimately leading to false convictions, and possibly the death of an innocent person. According to the Innocence Project (2014), inaccurate eyewitness testimonies and identifications make up about 72% of the current 329 wrongful convictions that have been later overturned with DNA evidence. Thankfully, as technology advances, this issue has been put in the limelight with a large number of eyewitness conviction cases being exonerated by DNA evidence. The Innocence Project in New York City advocates DNA testing to exonerate wrongfully convicted people. Of a list of 310 exonerated individuals (as of July 8th, 2013), they were typically convicted on the basis of eyewitness testimony and spent an average of 13.6 years in confinement before being released. This number is only a small portion of the large number of wrongful convictions that occur because DNA evidence is not available in all cases. (Lacy, J. W., & Stark, C. E. 2013). Science has come such a long way with allowing us to get the truth through DNA and because it shows certainty, it should be all that is considered when presenting a case to jurors and finalizing a verdict.
There has been considerable interest and study in the accuracy or inaccuracy of the use of eyewitness testimonies in the current criminal justice system. Results collated by several studies add to the bulk of literature suggesting that the current usage of eyewitness testimony by the legal system is far from ideal. Currently, high emphasis is being placed on reviewing and reconsidering eyewitness accounts (Leinfelt, 2004). In particular, recent DNA exoneration cases have shown that mistaken eyewitness identification was one of the largest factors contributing to the sentence of innocent people (Wells & Olson, 2003). For example, 75% of the first 271 cases of DNA exoneration in the US resulted in eyewitness testimony error (Brewer & Wells cited
Eyewitness testimonies can be the reason why a person is convicted for an offence they may or may not have committed. Psychological research shows that eyewitness testimony is not always accurate and the memory can be altered. Elizabeth Loftus is a psychological researcher that studies the mind and false memories. Studies and experiments by Elizabeth Loftus, Florida Atlantic University psychologists and many other psychologists provide evidence that supports the theory that memories can be altered and therefore eyewitness testimonies are not always accurate.
A false memory is a fabricated or corrupt recollection of an event. Memories can be false in inconsequential and considerable ways. An inconsequential way is thinking one’s coat is hanging in the closet when it is really on a chair in the dining room. A considerable way is when there is an implication that one was sexually abused as a child. There are factors that include misinformation that interfere with the formation of a new memory, causing recollection to be mistaken or entirely false. False memories can have serious implications, such as the false identification of a suspect or false recollection during police interrogations. In regards to eyewitness testimony, the length of time between the incident and being interviewed about the event
There has been considerable interest and study in the accuracy or inaccuracy of the use of eyewitness testimonies in the current criminal justice system. Results collated by several studies add to the bulk of literature suggesting that the current usage of eyewitness testimony by the legal system is far from ideal. Currently, high emphasis is being placed on reviewing and reconsidering eyewitness accounts (Leinfelt, 2004). In particular, recent DNA exoneration cases have substantiated the warnings of eyewitness identification researchers by showing that mistaken eyewitness identification was the largest single factor contributing to the conviction of innocent people (Wells & Olson, 2003). In this essay, the use of eyewitness testimony in the criminal justice system will be explored, with a particular focus on the impreciseness of this practice.
Have you ever been a witness to a crime? Would you feel comfortable if prosecutors relied on your eye witness testimony alone for a conviction? According to “The Magic of the Mind”, eyewitness testimony which relies on the accuracy of human memory, has an enormous impact on the outcome of a trial. Eyewitness testimony is a legal term. During an eyewitness testimony, the witness usually goes into an account of the crime he or she has witnessed. This can include details of the crime or identification of perpetrators. Eyewitness testimony is an important area of research in cognitive psychology and human memory (simplypsychology.com). Eyewitness testimony can be affected by many psychological factors such as:
Eyewitness testimony is a hot button issue in not only the criminal justice field but also the psychology field as well. It continues to be argued that this type of “evidence” is far too unreliable for the court room and can ultimately end up punishing the wrong person for a crime they did not commit. The influence of an eyewitness testimony cannot be denied as research has showed that, “adding a single prosecution eyewitness to a murder trial summary increased the percentage of mock jurors’ guilty verdicts from 18 to 72” (Leippe, Manion, & Romanczyk, p. 182, 1992). In the article discussed here, researchers will look into various age groups to see if age has an effect on the credibility of eyewitness testimonies while attempting to discern what certain cues build upon such credibility.
Eyewitness testimony often serves as direct evidence and has strong influences on juries during trial. While these testimonies are invaluable there has been a lot DNA exoneration that shows the flaws in eyewitness identification, leading to false convictions. A pre-trial identification is important in establishing eyewitness testimony. There are multiple
“Wrongfully convicted at age 25, Calvin Johnson received a life sentence for the rape of a Georgia woman after four different women identified him. Exonerated in 1999, he walked out of prison a 41-year old man. The true rapist has never been found, (The Justice Project).” Eyewitness testimony is highly relied on by judges, but it can not always be trusted. Approximately 48% of wrong convictions are because of mistaken identity by eyewitnesses (The Psychology of Eyewitness Testimony). After we discovered this information, we became curious as to whether in a testimony, the eyewitness’ memory is more reliable after a short period of time or after a longer period of time? According to previous experiments, eyewitness testimony is unreliable. Likely, we want to know if a testimony that is given two to three hours after a crime has taken place is more reliable than a testimony given after a longer period of time.
This lecture is about criminal trials and the memory of the eye witness in the court. Researchers have found that, memory of the eye witness may change, when they are subjected with new items at the time of trials. So, they have suggested that eye witness should not be taken as major evidence in the
Eyewitness testimonies are often unreliable and yet they are usually the most incriminating "evidence" provided in court. Eyewitnesses are often under a large amount of stress in the moment and are unable to gather all of the necessary information to accurately describe a crime. The setting of the crime, the type of event occurring, the amount of activity taking place, and the emotional state of the eyewitness can all affect and alter the testimony of the eyewitness. According to the Innocence Project, inaccurate eyewitness testimony accouted for 87% of wrongful convictions. One of these convictions was that of Ronald Cotton.
Eyewitness testimony is one of the most powerful forms of evidence in a trial. It may be inaccurate comes about due to an eyewitness's memory being influenced by things that they might hear or see after the crime occurred, and the better way to show eyewitness lineups is someone who doesn’t know anything including the detectives, for example: a double-blind scientific experiment—neither the witness nor the presiding officer should know in advance whether the suspect is in the lineup. Double-blinding is central to the scientific method because it minimizes the risk that experimenters might inadvertently bias the outcome of their research, finding only what they expected to find. But it leaves the question of exactly how police departments should
The aim of this experiment is to investigate the effect of leading questions on eyewitness testimony when asked to estimate the speed that a car is travelling in an accident. Participants were asked two questions in total. The first question was regarding the speed of the car with contrasting verbs (crashed/collided), the second question asked was whether there was any glass at the scene of the accident.
Eyewitness memory has always been an essential aspect of any trial. The perpetrator’s fate relies on the ability of the witness to accurately identify the person who committed the crime, and the events that occurred. People like to think that their memory can serve like a video camera that will record the events. Then, when they need to recall it, they can simply play it back to remember each detail. However, psychologists have found that this is simply not true. Remembering is found to be an act of putting a puzzle together, rather than a video recording of the events. In remembering, people are reconstructing memories. When doing this, an investigator with leading questions can modify events because the memory fragments can be combined with