Thetestimony given by an eyewitness is critical in the determination ofa case in court (Nicholson,Yarbrough, & Penrod, 2014).Below is a sample scenario of an incident where the response by awitness can be used to decide a complaint in court.
“Rememberwhen we went to McDonald`s, I think the cashier did not give meenough change back. I gave them a $50 and only got $2 back.” Me:“What do you remember about the transaction?”
Jarmena:“The cashier was quite uneasy and restless. He hurriedly took yourmoney and gave back the change. I also doubt if the balance wassufficient.”Me:“I think I’ll go back to the customer assistance counter and askif a drawer was over at the end of the night. Do you remember whatthe cashier looked like?”
Jarmena:“Yes I do remember clearly.”Me:Age, name, gender, dress, height, weight.
Jarmena:“He was a bit young, probably in his mid-twenties. The badge on hischest read James. He wore a red shirt which had a black lining on thecollar. I am not sure about the height because he was seated. Heseems to weigh much because his body was big and heavily built.”Me:“I remember he wore glasses, did you see other jewellery or otherunique identifying items or marks?”
Jarmen:“Yes, he wore a shiny silver plated ring on his ring finger on theright hand, but he was not wearing the glasses, they were looselyhanging on the left breast pocket of his shirt.”
Otherquestions that I would use to assess the scenario
Me:“I saw him put the $50 note in his pocket, did you notice thattoo?”
Jarmena:“Certainly. Then he started shifting uneasily in his seat.“
Me:“Did you also realise that the change he gave us was from hispocket and not the money box?”
Jarmena:“As for the change I cannot clearly remember where he got it.”
Ourdescriptions of the situation.
Me:”The cashier wore a red shirt with a black collar and a name tagwritten James.He was also wearing glasses with a brown shade. I took out a $50 noteto pay for the bill at the cashier’s point. The cashier hurriedlysnatched the note from my hand and gave back the change whileavoiding eye contact. I did not analyse the incident deeply because Iwas not expecting to be shortchanged at the famous food joint.”
Jarmeni’s“You paid the cashier for the meal we had just taken, and hequickly gave back the balance. He looked unsettled, and a bitconfused the moment he saw the money as his eyes darted aroundrestless. I cannot clearly remember the value of money you gave himand the balance he gave because you just put it into your pocket andwe left”
Incomparison of her response to the incident, Jarmena’s descriptionwas quite close to mine. In fact, most of the answers were similar.She was astonished of the close similarity of the two descriptionswhen I showed them to her. As for the suggestion I made, she haddenied the cashier having glasses. Although jarmena had agreed aboutthe money, she was not sure about the amount I had suggested.
Assumingit was a court case where I was making a claim, Jarmena would make anexcellent witness taking into account the proximity of her answers tomine concerning the incident. What makes her answers to be even morereliable is the fact that she denied my suggestions which were untrueabout both the money and the cashier. Finally, her confidence whileanswering the questions would directly make her case authentic andbelievable (Nicholson,Yarbrough, & Penrod, 2014).
Nicholson,A. S., Yarbrough, A. M., & Penrod, S. D. (2014). Jury decisionmaking and
eyewitnesstestimony. In Encyclopaediaof criminology and criminal justice (pp.2727
2735).Springer New York.
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