The modern court history is full of the cases with eyewitness testimony, which lead to tragic mistakes. The U.S. Supreme Court declined Monday to consider whether a state can block defense lawyers from attacking the dependability of eyewitness testimony. In 1984, a nine-year-old girl was found dead in a wooded area in Rosedale, Maryland, having been sexually assaulted, strangled, and beaten with a … • Inaccurate eyewitness identifications can confound investigations from the earliest stages. Eyewitnesses to a crime can either make or break a case depending on what they can recall. Extensive interviews with the people involved in the case as well as Elizabeth Loftus and Gary Wells. Eyewitness testimony, at least on film and television, can be dramatic and turn a trial completely around. The cases — one in the U.S. Supreme Court and one in the Pennsylvania Supreme Court — seek rulings that recognize the psychological research findings showing the many circumstances that can lead to eyewitness testimony being flawed and manipulated, says APA's general counsel, Nathalie Gilfoyle, JD. Eyewitness Testimony has been a controversial topic in court cases for as long as I can remember. This specula-No. For example they may be required to give a description at a trial of a robbery or a road accident someone has seen. Hundreds of innocent people have been exonerated by DNA evidence in the United States since the 1990s, and eyewitness misidentification was the root cause in 70% of the cases. Their testimony has a strong effect on jurors. 2005 2 SACR 41 (W). 10. Avoiding leading questions (Loftus and Palmer, 1974) and the introduction of the cognitive interview technique (Fisher et al. Despite a nationwide trend toward various reforms in law enforcement, during trials a single eyewitness (who may be compromised in one way or another) can outweigh an overwhelming amount of other evidence. March 25, 2008— -- Julius Earl Ruffin knows all too well how inaccurate eyewitness identification can be. Eyewitnesses are central to most court cases (Kebbell & Milne, 1998; Zander & Henderson, 1993) and eyewitness accounts are the most common and significant testimonies that can potentially serve as the primary forms of evidence against a defendant. Eyewitness Memory Is a Lot More Reliable Than You Think. Mistaken eyewitness identifications contributed to approximately 69% of the more than 375 wrongful convictions in the United States overturned by post-conviction DNA evidence. And in 2012, the U.S. Supreme Court declined to follow New Jersey’s lead, deciding 8–1 not to overhaul its 1977 standard for admitting eyewitness testimony into court. 1987) have helped to contribute to the … Over the last three decades, psychologists have made important discoveries, and applied those discoveries to the legal system in myriad ways. To evaluate the reliability of memory, it is once again instructive to look to the criminal justice system. Research has found that eyewitness-identification testimony can be very unreliable. On May 3, 1982, in a Norfolk, Va. circuit … Eyewitness testimony is a legal term. 4 Further, eyewitness testimony was the central evidence in over 50% of such cases. Police, prosecutors, juries and judges in court generally believe, trust and accept eyewitness testimony, especially if no other evidence (objects, documentary and/or physical evidence) is available and if the eyewitness has no reason nor motivation to give false statements (Wells et al. For instance, multiple eyewitnesses may misidentify the same person (this has occurred in 38% of the misidentification cases mentioned above). This includes identification of perpetrators, details of the crime scene etc. In the US, mistaken eyewitness identification ended to 71% of wrongful convictions. Whether or not a person is convicted of a crime can come down to the reliability of an eyewitness and how confidently he or she conveys testimony to a jury. This means that eyewitness testimony should be considered a valuable and relevant part of court procedure. Supreme Court has addressed both the admission and reliability of eyewitness evidence in criminal cases. Eyewitness Testimony and Human Memory . Safer MA, Murphy RP, Wise RA, Bussey … Toronto Criminal Defence Lawyer Eyewitness testimony Eyewitness testimony can play a big part in criminal court cases. The most important foundation for eyewitness testimony is a person's memory - after all, whatever testimony is being reported is coming from what a person remembers. Figure 1 . 60 Minutes: Eyewitness Testimony Part 1 (13:00) 60 Minutes: Eyewitness Testimony Part 2 (13:06) A two-part 60 Minutes news story focusing on the case of Ronald Cotton and Jennifer Thompson, one of the best documented cases of false conviction. 89 Holtzhausen v Roodt 1997 4 SA 766 (WLD); S v Engelbrecht. 87 Loftus Eyewitness Testimony 906. An eyewitness testimony is a report made by a person who observed an event. With the many cases where an eyewitness testimony has wrongfully convicted a suspect, one would think that the use of eyewitness evidence as the most important piece of evidence would be removed. 91 Trial transcript 571 -574. Law enforcement and the courts should follow the recommendations of social scientists when using and assessing eyewitness techniques, such as lineups, in criminal cases. In this case, the … To the swelling chorus of activists and researchers who argue that eyewitness testimony is both fundamentally unreliable and over-relied upon, the Cotton case is a prime example of what can go tragically wrong when court cases hinge on human recollection. Despite the known unreliability of eyewitness testimony, it remains an effective tool. Eyewitness testimony is very influential in the determination of various legal decisions. The problem is these eyewitness accounts aren't always accurate. [Read: A History of Contested Death Penalty Cases] Part of the problem with eyewitness statements comes from the mismatch between an eyewitness' sureness in … However, faulty eyewitness identification and testimony can lead to wrongful convictions (Figure 1). Record of appeal Vol 7. Kirk Bloodsworth. It refers to an account given by people of an event they have witnessed. Educating jurors about eyewitness testimony in criminal cases with circumstantial and forensic evidence. The nearly simultaneous analyses of evidence from these three cases in the same crime lab in … Criminal justice reform advocates say what happened to Miles shows what’s wrong with the way eyewitness testimony is treated in America. Faulty eyewitness testimony has been implicated in at least 75% of DNA exoneration cases—more than any other cause (Garrett, 2011). In this list we will explore some of the reasons for wrongful convictions and the ramifications of the failings of eyewitness testimony. In a particularly famous case, a man named Ronald Cotton was identified by a rape victim, Jennifer Thompson, as her rapist, and was found guilty and sentenced to life in prison. 86 Loftus Eyewitness Testimony. of No. In real life, however, eyewitness accounts aren’t typically so exciting and sometimes don’t even make it to the trial stage of the criminal justice process. Record of appeal Vol 7. FREQUENCY OF EYEWITNESS CASES 73 Table I If large urban areas with a high incidence of serious crime Prosecutors' Replies to Questionnaire, produce more than their share of EW cases, our data will Listed Alphabetically by Location underestimate the frequency of EW cases. One of the examples is the recent case of Darren Wilson, who was convicted for shooting Michael Brown (Department of Justice, 2015). ‘Perry v. New Hampshire’: Eyewitness Testimony on Trial A Supreme Court case raises fascinating, eerie questions about the reliability of eyewitness testimony and how courts should deal with it. Eyewitnesses statements often play a vital role in securing criminal convictions – police surveys show that eyewitness testimony is the main form of evidence in more than 20% of cases… Eyewitness Testimony Sways Jurors. 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