Columbia Broadcasting System (CBS), 60 Minutes put out an interview piece about Jennifer Thompson and Ronald Cotton and attempted to show how eyewitness testimony is flawed. Thompson was the victim and survivor of a rape and Cotton was the accused. Cotton served nearly 11 years before his exoneration, the eyewitness conviction deemed flawed. However, not flawed eyewitness testimony only convicted Cotton but the power of suggestion, finger pointing, and some unconscientious persuasion as well.
There is no skirting around the terrible event that happened against Thompson. She deserved justice, but the system failed her, it also failed Ronald Cotton. When Thompson was hesitant picking Cotton, saying the suspect was either numbers 4 or 5, then for whatever reason settled on number 5, she decided she was certain he was the man who raped her. This was all the police needed to have Cotton put on trial, it seems that whomever Thompson chose would be the one to serve time. Detective Gauld used composites he assembled (based off Thompson’s word) to recreate the rapist. Suspects were rounded up and Cotton picked.
The case was dissected after it fell apart and Gauld learned that memory is fragile, malleable, and that eye recognition is rapid. Thompson studied the composites for five minutes before making her decision. Most likely, she picked the person who most …show more content…
Intense training and testing has to happen within all branches of law enforcement. A great teaching method would be to actually put forensics on trial, dissect its entire process relative to eyewitness accounts, stress, and memory. Moreover, as difficult as it is to put any victim through, great benefit can be had from a professional not connected to the investigation, have the victim recount why she/he is sure they picked the right person. Chances are they will have to all over again if they pick more
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One of the major issues that was part of this case was the lack of efforts put into finding out what happened the day Harper went missing. The evidence that was used to convict Truscott was John Penistan’s forensic
In July of 1984, in Alamance County in North Carolina, an assailant broke into the victim’s – Jennifer Thompson-Cannino – apartment and attacked and raped her. Later on that same night, the same assailant broke into another apartment, attacked and raped a second woman. Jennifer Thompson-Cannino, was a 22-year-old college student at the time. She had never met the defendant, Ronald Cotton, until she picked him out of a line-up as her attacker and rapist. Ronald Cotton was initially convicted based only on the victim identifying him as her attacker.
A soon-to-be father who lived near the shooting, Register had a confirmed alibi of being at the unemployment office that morning, and yet somehow he was labeled guilty of first-degree murder (Bazelon). At the same time as Register's arrest, a hesitant Anderson explained to the prosecutor that it was possible she had been confused during the identification because Register was her former classmate (Bazelon). She also mentioned that she had not seen the criminal very well as he scurried away from the scene (Bazelon). A law professor named Brandon Garrett reported that out of 75 percent of the 250 overturned convictions, more than one-half involved apprehensive eyewitnesses who gradually became confident in their decision (Bazelon). This was the case with Register and the two eyewitnesses who had the ability to impede his freedom with frayed "puppet strings."
During the trial, the doctor who analyzed Perry’s sanity, Dr. Jones, testified his opinion: “‘From your conversations and examination of Perry Edward Smith, do you have an opinion as to whether he knew right from wrong at the time of the offense involved in this action?’... Answer yes or no, do you have an opinion?’ ‘No’” (Capote 296). He then follows this up with a lengthy and detailed description of how the Doctor would have defended his response had he been allowed by the prosecution to elaborate.
The trial of cotton worker Tom Robinson, who was accused of raping nineteen year old Mayella Ewell back in November, has begun. Robinson was arrested on November 21 after Mayella identified him as her attacker. The accused worked for Mr. Link Deas and is married with three children. None of the other Ewell children nor their father were home at the time.
They say that it is better that ten guilty men go free then one innocent man be wrongly convicted. On a 60 Minute broadcast, reporter Lesley Stahl did a story regarding the wrongful imprisonment of an innocent man based off of a rape victim’s eyewitness identification. The man convicted of the crime was sentenced to life plus fifty years at the age of twenty-two for a crime he never committed. Eleven years later, his innocence was finally proven when DNA was able to exonerate and clear his name.
The audience also knows how much time Koenig has spent looking into this case and for her to still be questioning it makes it hard to believe that the court made a decision in such a short amount of time, supporting the theory that bias played a factor. “I see many problems with the state's case. But I also see many problems with Adnan’s story too.” This antithesis explains how there simply were just too many holes in both sides of the case to make an accurate conviction (Koenig 150). These gray areas within the case are the sole reasons why nobody can confidently say who did it, making it very unlikely that the court's decision was made strictly from evidence.
In the book “Picking Cotton”, the former Burlington Police Chief Mike Gauldin, who was the lead detective on Jennifer’s case, was certainly sure that Ronald Cotton was the guy he was looking for after Jennifer picked him twice (Jennifer, Ronald, Erin 80); also, on the McCallum’s case, the polices also chose to trust eyewitnesses when they did not have enough physical evidences. Furthermore, judges can be wrong sometime. Wise and Safer, who are authors of the report “ what US judges know and believe about eyewitness testimony”, surveyed 160 U.S. judges to determine how much they know about eyewitness testimony on a small test( Wise, Safer, 427-432). However, the survey responds the average judges in the U.S. only 55% correct within 14 questions (Wise, Safer, 431-432). Moreover, most of the judges who were surveyed did not know key facts about eyewitness testimony.
This essay will be about two injustices the Scottsboro trial and Tom Robinson’s trial. A few similarities are that they were treated unfairly and they were all accused of a repulsive crime, raping a white woman. In the Scottsboro trial though, two women were supposedly raped. Both trials happened in the same time period, while also noting that the women in both trials came from poor backgrounds. Atticus gave his all to his case while the nine young men’s lawyer also tried his best.
“Guilty… guilty… guilty… guilty…” I peeked at Jem: his hands were white from gripping the balcony rail, and his shoulders jerked as if each “guilty” was a separate stab between them” (Lee 215).With Jem’s unbiased eyes, the evidence in court had proved Tom’s innocence without doubt.
In the book “To Kill A Mockingbird”, by Harper Lee and the short story, “Only the Accused were Innocent”, by David Oshinsky, have many similarities. Two of these similarities that were important were that both judges were obviously disagreed or were troubled by the verdict and that both of the ladies that accused these men of raped to hide there own guilt. In the article “Only the Accused Were Innocent”,when the jury of the scottsboro trial had made their decision on the verdict the judge seemed to disagree with it, “But Horton, a wealthy landowner with deep antebellum roots in Alabama, was clearly troubled by the case”(Oshinsky). In “To Kill A Mockingbird” when judge Taylor finds out the verdict, he seems confused, “Judge Taylor was something.
Throughout the case, Graham’s culpability was questioned multiple times due to the lack of provable and cogent evidence of his crime. For instance, although being a witness, Bernadine Skillerns’ testimony about glimpsing the murderer’s face through “a car windshield...30-40 feet away” was not ample enough to truly blame Graham of the crime ("Executed But Possibly Innocent"). Even more, two other witnesses that allegedly worked in the supermarket described Graham as not being the killer. Moreover, rather perfunctorily, the two witnesses were never “interviewed by Graham's court appointed attorney” ("Executed But Possibly Innocent"). Conceivably, decision-makers and court appointed attorney’s may fall back on conscious or oblivious preferences about who are the most noticeably awful sorts of convicts or who are the more sympathetic convicts, therefore, creating a potential bias system towards one's race.
Before the sentence was finalized, witnesses from both Donaldson’s side and Huguet’ side took the stand to be questioned. During the questioning process, Hillary McLaughlin, another one of Donaldson’s victims, decided to testify. Though she didn’t want to be placed back into the situation again she knew it was the right thing to be done. As person after person was brought up and asked a numerous questions, Donaldson was shown to be nothing but a liar during the entire case. Before the hearing three different psychologists was ordered to execute a psychosexual evaluation on Donaldson.