EYE WITNESS 5
Most convictions are based on eyewitnesses testimony. Thesetestimonies might be compelling to the juror and result in convictionof suspects under any form of law. Nonetheless, this method poses anenormous danger especially if the eye witness account is wrongresulting in the wrongful conviction of a suspect. Although thisapproach is conducted when both the prosecutor and defendant lawyersare present, the witness is never informed whether the suspectedindividual who took part will be part of the crime (Smalarz &Wells, 2015). As a consequence, pressure lies on the witness toidentify a suspected to be presented for criminal judges. Thisincreases bias and the administration of justice.
There are several factors that influence eyewitness testimony makingit less accurate. The factors include viewing conditions, internalfactors, and external factors. Viewing conditions include time ofexposure, delay, arousal and presence of a weapon (Wise, Sartori,Magnussen, & Safer, 2014). Brief exposure to the suspectedindividuals increases the chances of wrongful identification. Arousaland presence of any weapon also increased the chances of wrongfulidentification of an individual. Internal factors refer topsychological and biological factors that an individual has nocontrol over (Wise, Fishman, & Safer, 2009).This included age, own-race bias, and sex. Younger children are morelikely to identify wrong places compared to older individuals.Females were also more likely to identify correct witnesses comparedto males (Loftus, 2013). External factors include line up bias andsuggestive questioning.
There is a correlation between confidence and accuracy in eyewitnesses cases. High confidence levels among eyewitnesses increasememory and recognition levels. Eyewitnesses cases are dependent onthe use of memory and attention in the identification of suspects,and therefore the interaction between recall and recognition tasksand confidence levels plays a critical role in determining accuracyin eyewitness cases (Wise et al., 2014).
Most hypnosis techniques have the potential to increase eyewitnessesaccounts in any forensic investigation. Hypnosis is used to refreshmemory process commonly referred to as hypnotic amnesia. Nonetheless,the method needs to be controlled by the use of hypnosis induces thelevels of consciousness among suspects in the process making themsuggestive to leading information provided by prosecutors. In somecases, it also produces minimal errors as the amount of informationprovided cannot be quantified. Hypnosis also allows investigators towrongful implant information to the eyewitness in the process furtherdisturbing memory. Altercation to the memory greatly affects theinformation to be used in the identification of suspects.
Line-ups create some form of bias referred to as line up biases. Thebasic lineups are mostly based on the relative judgment of theprosecutor. Simply put, most eyewitnesses select suspects from alineup that represents their memory trace. In addition, the suspectmay be absent from the lineup and the eyewitness may not have priorinformation of such information in the process resulting in the wrongidentification of an individual especially in cases where the witnessis pressurized in selecting the suspect (Smalarz & Wells, 2015Wise et al., 2014). In addition, in case the suspect is absent fromthe lineup, an individual who resembles the suspect is alwayspresent, and in the proces, this may affect or influence the choiceos the selected individual. In addition, the presence of a filler ordistracter who in most cases is innocent further affects theidentification process. In most cases, police officers placedistracters in the lineup and one individual who matches thedescription provided by the eyewitness (Smalarz & Wells, 2015Wise et al., 2014). In other cases, the suspects faces are shownsequential with the image resembling the suspect being placed at thecenter or the end of the sequence. These two line up methods affectthe identification of suspects.
Loftus, E. F. (2013). 25 Years of Eyewitness Science……FinallyPays Off. Perspectives on Psychological Science, 8(5),556–557. http://doi.org/10.1177/1745691613500995
Smalarz, L., & Wells, G. L. (2015). Contamination of EyewitnessSelf-Reports and the Mistaken-Identification Problem. CurrentDirections in Psychological Science, 24(2), 120–124.http://doi.org/10.1177/0963721414554394
Wise, R. A., Sartori, G., Magnussen, S., & Safer, M. A. (2014).An examination of the causes and solutions to eyewitness error.Frontiers in Psychiatry, 5(AUG).http://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyt.2014.00102
Wise, R. A., Fishman, C. S., & Safer, M. A.(2009). How to analyze the accuracy of eyewitness testimony in acriminal case. Conn. L. Rev.,42, 435.
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