False Convictions And Eyewitness Identification

2550 Words Nov 16th, 2014 11 Pages
The first and greatest cause of false convictions is eyewitness identification according to the innocence project website almost 75% of cases later overturned were due to wrongful eyewitness identification. One of the main issues as we learned in class is that our minds do not keep a perfect recording of events in our memory they are often impacted by additional information given after the fact. Information about a suspect given afterwards such as suggesting their hair color, height, weight, or other attributes about them could influence our memories. Another issue found is using things like “show ups” for victims and witnesses; this is discussed on the innocence project page and was in class. Show ups tend to lead to wrongful identification because there is only one person instead of several potential suspects like a lineup. The Innocence project website discusses two variables that affect wrongful eyewitness identification Estimator and System variables. Estimator variables are things the justice system cannot influence such as the lighting, distance used when the victim or witness saw the suspect, the amount of stress or anxiety the victim is under, and research shows that it is hard for witnesses to identify someone of a different race than they are. The 2nd group of variables discussed are the system variables, these are things that the system can impact such as the type of lineup like line up or show up, how they administer lineups such as how similar the suspects…
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