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First, the factor that leading innocent people be charged is flawed eyewitness identification. Eyewitness is one of principal evidences that policies are looking because someone has knowledge about the crime. A study of contributing causes of wrongful convictions show us that 72% are eyewitness because of misidentification ( The causes of wrongful conviction, 1). This study demonstrated that eyewitness is the highest in wrongful convictions. For example, in the documentary Mr Stephens was the eyewitness which, it is the strong evidence that Detective Williams used against Butler. Mr Stephens told the police that he saw a 6-feet tall men between 20 to 25 years-old. Even though the description given by Mr Stephens did not match with
Unless observed from the onset of the investigation, studies show that the confidence level of the witness has a “poor relationship” with the accuracy of the identification (Stenzel 2017). Because memory can be easily altered and misleading, high levels of confidence do not indicate that the witness has correctly identified the suspect (Stenzel 2017). Initially, Thompson-Cannino identified Cotton, saying, “I think this is him,” but by the time she got to her second round of identifications, she said “Bingo! I did it right!” (Stenzel 2017). Studies show that confidence in the witness’ confidence in their memory increases with time (Hughes 2014). However, there is usually an extended period of time between when the crime took place and the trial, and therefore, the witness’ confidence statement should be given little to no weight in the
Eyewitness misidentification is a major problem that has an effect on adequate policing. One major goal and priority of law enforcement is justice. They should focus on prosecuting the correct person because if they are prosecuting the wrong person they are ruining an innocent persons life and justice is not being served. Many problems can arise from misidentification. It often leads to an innocent persons rights being infringed on. There are many dangers to misidentification and many causes for misidentification occurring.
Many news stories, reports, and books fairly describe wrongful convictions in detail, although not all of these wrongful convictions resulted in formal exonerations. Most witness misidentifications were made in good faith with the witness attempting to help officials find the real perpetrator of a crime, although this explanation does not examine the conditions under which these identifications were made. Some of the conditions that need to be taken into account are whether a photo was shown to a victim by the police before a lineup, whether the identification by the witness was hesitant, or if the victim was urged to be positive when testifying. Additionally, was the identification from the same race; was there prejudice, how much distance and duration of interaction was there between victim and suspect prior to identification and what were the viewing conditions; darkness or day light? With so many factors involved, it should be obvious to some why eye-witness misidentification can happen so frequently. Moreover, the testimony of an eyewitness relies on how accurate their memory of an event actually is. Eyewitness misidentification is the greatest contributing factor to wrongful convictions proven by DNA testing, playing a role in more than 70% of convictions overturned through DNA testing nationwide (“Eyewitness Misidentification,”
Her earliest studies of eyewitness testimony addressed several issues: when someone sees a crime or accident, how accurate is his or her memory? These studies led Loftus to ask what happens when witness are questioned by police officers, and what if those questions are suggestive (Loftus, 2003). For instance, when Loftus began showing people films of traffic accidents, she found that a question such as “How fast were the cars going when the smashed into each other?” led to higher estimates of speed than a more neutral question that used the verb “hit”. Moreover, the “smashed” question led more people to falsely remember seeing broken glass when there was none. Her early papers concluded that leading questions could contaminate or distort a witness’s memory (Loftus,
Why have more than two-thousand people exonerated for crimes they didn’t commit? Eyewitness misidentification is the leading cause of wrongful convictions in the U.S. Memory can be influenced by anxiety, stress, reconstructive memory and other factors possibly affecting the testimony of the eyewitness and in turn, misleading the jury. I think that when subjects witness a crime they will struggle to remember important details of the event, and their recollection could be easily altered. This is because the reconstructive memory can be influenced by factors such as stress, anxiety, and verbal cues.
Wells and C.A. Elizabeth Luus to maintain impartiality and the witness’s autonomy in his identification. First, it is recommended that witnesses should be separated as soon as possible to prevent the misinformation effect where information obtained post event, such as the perspectives of others, distorts and is falsely incorporated into memories. Secondly, it is imperative that the suspect is made aware that the witness is explicitly told that the suspect may or may not be present in the lineup. This is to ensure the witness does not feel compelled to select someone, or falsely believe that a suspect is guaranteed to be present. Third, the officer conducting the lineup should be independent of the investigation to prevent any personal or information induced biases towards any particular individual in the lineup. Fourth, if there is more than one witness, the position of the suspect in the lineup should be changed in each lineup so as to prevent communication of the suspects position between witnesses influencing identifications. Finally, it is recommended that no cues of any kind should be given to the witness concerning whether or not the identified person is the suspect in the case as doing so can
A jury trial is a privilege that we all have so that we are administered a fair and impartial trial; thus, it must be taken seriously. Depending on each state, when summoned for the jury selection process, and chosen to serve as members of the jury, we are required to take an oath or an affirmation. Additionally, the consideration of the circumstances that lead us to be a witness, should be prevalent in our minds. It is important that we listen to the entire case and determine if the offender, based on the facts given during the trial and not on personal biases, should be convicted. I think this is important because the future of one person is determined based on the testimony of the witnesses whom have sworn truthfulness. Nonetheless, I
The criminal justice system depends majorly on eyewitness identification for investigating and prosecuting crimes. Psychologists have been the only ones who have warned the justice system of problems with eyewitness identification evidence. Recent DNA exoneration cases have corrupted the warnings of eyewitness identification researchers by showing that mistaken eyewitness identification was the largest factor contributing to the conviction of many innocent people eyewitness testimonies are not reliable therefor you would assume they would be taken out of court, but instead
She “studied every detail on the rapist’s face. [She] looked at his hairline; [she] looked for scars, for tattoos, for anything that would help [her] identify him” (New York Times). She put so much effort to stay conscious and study this much detail of her attacker, yet when Bobby Poole stood in front of her in the courthouse, she did not recognize him claiming “that she’s never seen that man before in her life”. This shows that there are other contributing factors that could lead a witness to misidentify an attacker and that even the “best” eyewitnesses are not perfect. Thompson shared the statistic that eyewitness error is the leading cause of wrongful convictions in America. This supports her argument by claiming that she is not the only case of misidentification. Errors like this occur in trial and investigation considerably often. Thompson brings up another case in Texas where there is another man on death row because of a flimsy eyewitness identification. This goes to show that eyewitness misidentifications can have heavy consequences to the wrongfully convicted as well as how common misidentifications are. Overall, Thompson claims that even the most confident witnesses can be
Dashboard cameras have become an antiquated tool for police officers. According to the Los Angeles Times, “Critics claim that watching the video will alter the officer's memory of the incident. But this isn't necessarily a bad thing”. The human memory of complex and highly charged events is invariably incomplete. Police officers cannot be expected to encode and retain every one of the countless details that make up a use-of-force incident” (Simon). This will provide officers help to get the facts needed for the case. Therefore, there will be more hard evidence that can also be used in court. In addition, “Human memory is also susceptible to a
Furthermore, there can be several factors at play when a wrongful conviction occurs and each case is unique. Three of the more common and detrimental factors that will be explored in this essay are eyewitness error, the use of jailhouse informants and professional and institutional misconduct. Firstly, eyewitness testimony can be a major contributor to a conviction and is an important factor in wrongful conviction (Campbell & Denov, 2016, p. 227). Witness recall and, frankly, the human emory are not as reliable as previously thought. In fact there has been much research showing the problems with eyewitness testimony such as suggestive police interviewing, unconscious transference, and malleability of confidence (Campbell & Denov, 2016, p.227). All of these components lead to eyewitness error and essentially false incrimination. Secondly, another factor that can contribute to wrongful conviction is the use of jailhouse informants. Campbell & Denov (2016), describe jailhouse informants as prisoner informants that “provide information to law enforcement officials in exchange for money, property, or the promise of leniency in sentencing” (p. 229). This can be problematic because jurors place value on the
Each line-up procedure affects the decisions of eyewitnesses. The show-up method is the least effective at correctly identifying suspects. They present suspects to witnesses, whilst in police custody. In addition, the time taken can drastically increase the rate of misidentifications. Therefore, they are not how eyewitness testimonies should be conducted. In the simultaneous line-up, witnesses overestimate their ability to make an identification, resulting in misidentifications. This is due the nature of judgements, promoted by the simultaneous line-up, relative
Eye witness identification involves selecting an accused perpetrator from a police line up, sketch or being at the crime scene during the murder time. After selecting a suspect, witnesses are asked to make a formal statement confirming the ID of the suspect (s) or other surrounding details which the eyewitness can testify in court. Eyewitnesses are always required to testify in court but eyewitnesses with psychological disorders, substance dependancy are at a higher chance of identifying the wrong suspect therefore wrongfully assisting convict the perpetrator in the wrong (Hal Arkowitz, Scott O. Lilienfeld, January 1, 2010).