Mistaken eyewitness identifications have contributed to approximately 75% of false convictions. Meaning that more than 100 people each year could be falsely convicted of violent or sexual crimes because of these false accusations from witnesses (Garrett, 2011). Eyewitness misidentification is believed to be the single greatest cause of wrongful convictions nationwide which are later overturned through DNA testing. Research studies since the 1960s (Brandon & Davies, 1973; Huff; Rattner & Sagarin, 1986) have demonstrated that there are significant reasons to...
The term ‘eyewitness’ is a legal term that refers to an account by people of an event that has been witnessed. The testimony is slowly being treated less and less credible because DNA evidence is becoming more accessible and accurate memory testing reveals the errors of your memory. The eyewitness testimony involving criminal justice is being questioned and becoming a controversial topic because the human brain can only hold so much memory. Recalling information can be very difficult as well,...
To suggest that the reliability of the memories of child witnesses had been a controversial issue for quite some time is definitely an understatement. There has been a variety of research and discussions worldwide about an ongoing controversy issue in the forensic psychology field. Should a child be able to testify as an eyewitness? An eyewitness testimony is provided by an individual who was present during an incident and could recall what happened from start to finish. Throughout many cases,...
In 1980, Elmer Daniels was wrongfully convicted for a crime he didn’t commit. In 1980, Daniels was accused of raping a 15-year-old girl to the first degree. He was trialed and convicted solely by an eyewitness testimony. The conviction proved to be a misidentification, which led to Daniels serving 39 years in a Delaware prison. In this essay I will be analyzing and explaining the psychology behind this misidentification and why an eyewitness testimony shouldn’t be used as a primary...
According to studies dating back to the 1930’s, eyewitness misidentification is the most common element in wrongful convictions. In this paper I will talk about a case where misidentification was truly show in honest spotlight. The defendant, Kirk Bloodsworth. a 59-year-old Caucasian man, born and raised in Rosedale, Maryland. An innocent man, only 24 years old at the time of conviction. On the early hours of August 9th, 1985, sound asleep at his cousin’s house in Cambridge, Maryland. Kirk Bloodsworth...
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Any statement made by an eyewitness, a sworn statement or oath, which is written either on affidavit or paper done in court testimony, is eyewitness testimony. It is the main researching field in human memory and cognitive psychology. Eyewitnesses are only acceptable if the story they tell is consistent, comprehensible, and cohesive. Many psychological factors can affect eyewitness testimony. They are: anxiety stress, weapon focus (focus on the weapon during the event), reconstructive memory (the ability to reconstruct memory), leading...
In this paper, I am going to talk about eyewitness statements. I will discuss what they are and why they are important, as well as analyzing and evaluating two different influences on eyewitness testimonies. The two influences which I will discuss are misleading information and anxiety. Firstly, what are eyewitness testimonies? Well, an eyewitness testimony is evidence that is provided in a police investigation or in court. The information is provided by someone who has witnessed a crime or an...
Many people feel as though they fully understand the concept of memory but when asked exactly what it is, they find it difficult to put in words or simply define it as how we store and recall past and present information. The study of human memory has been a subject of research and major interest for many years. There are plenty of questions and theories surrounding the concept, but the subject remains quite complex. Majority of the time, many people...
On July 17, 1982, a young woman was raped by a black man in Virginia, who approached her on a stolen bicycle, and beat her, threatened her with a gun, and raped and sodomized her. After reporting the crime, due to the perpetrator mentioning that he had a white girl at home and was black, a police officer singled out Marvin Anderson, who was an 18-year-old local black man with a white girlfriend. As Anderson had no criminal record, the...
Evidence shows that witness testimonies can be unreliable. For instance, 75% of wrongful convictions are due to inaccurate eyewitness testimonies (The Conversation, 2017). Bartlett’s (1932) theory of reconstructive memory was pivotal to understanding how factors may impact witness testimony reliability. In 1932, Bartlett demonstrated how people reconstruct memories when participants relayed a story and changed it from person to person. For example, details were altered to become more conventional, such as ghosts being omitted from the story. Bartlett theorized that...