The Reliability Of Eye Witness Testimonals Criminology Essay

Eye-witness testimony plays a cardinal function in courtroom test. When there is no grounds to grok the accused, eye-witness testimony becomes an effectual tool in groking the perpetrator. Although the usage of eyewitness testimony by juries is considered as most valuable tool but the eye-witness testimony is questionable because bulk of informants fail to supply accurate information of the incident.

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The usage of eye-witness testimony is frequently a primary beginning of grounds used in the judicial system around the universe. Eye-witness testimony refers to a description given by people of an incident they witnessed. This description includes designations of the aggressor, “ inside informations of the offense scene ” and so on ( McLeod, 2009 ) . The testimony displays the importance of eyewitness, and focuses on the theoryA that jurymans tend to over believe, or at least rely to a great extent on suchA histories where an eye-witness is involved. Statisticss shows in “ 500 unlawful strong beliefs and concluded that misguided eyewitness designation occurred in 60 % ” ( Green, 2009 ) . This can be considered as a really high figure of misidentification. Research into this country has findings that show eye-witness testimony can be affected by many factors.

Inaccuracy of memory is frequently the chief issue with eye-witness testimony. Witness frequently ca n’t properly remember an incident. This normally happens when there is a time-lapse between the witnessing of the incident and inquiring of the informant. Long time-lapse in recovering a informant ‘s statements can do their memory and they got confused. “ Overtime, memory of the event may non be fresh and may be altered every clip ” ( Forsyth. A, Dunn. K. , & A ; Chambers. W. , n.d. ) It is retrieved from memory and non merely that, new information can do the old information to be lost. Memory alterations over clip and “ [ a ] s people recall an event over and over, they remove inside informations from earlier versions and add in new inside informations to later versions ” ( Green, 2009 ) . Witness besides frequently taken in information learned after the incident into the memory. They may speak to other informants or watch the intelligence and make full their encephalon with the memory of the conversation. As a consequence, the degree of truth lessenings with each the new modified version which is no longer dependable to be used as an eye-witness testimony.

The distraction of informant is another job with eye-witness testimony. Stress and anxiousness plays a immense function as it can deflect the informant ‘s concentration. A survey done by Clifford and Scott ( 1978 ) , as cited in McLeod ( 2009 ) found that people who saw a film of a violent onslaught ca n’t retrieve much information about the event compared to the “ control group who saw less nerve-racking film ” . The arm focal point consequence besides plays a function whereby when a arm is involved in a offense, the informant ‘s concentration moves toward the arm ( McLeod, 2009 ) . It is non unusual for a informant to be able to depict more on the arm compared to the aggressor itself when there is a arm involved in the event. So, when a arm or emphasis is involved, the informant is unable to be cognizant of the other inside informations as their attending is concentrated to the full on the arm and anxiousness. This can take to hapless memory callback subsequently on. Therefore, distraction of informant is besides a factor to be taken count on in the undependability of eye-witness testimony.

Witnesss besides frequently give erring designations whereby the informant fails to separate inside informations of the incident. Most of the clip, informants do n’t truly give proper attending when a offense is traveling on. In a research done by Leippe et Al. ( 1978 ) as cited by Wells and Olson ( 2003 ) , they found that sum of attending given by the informant affects the designation of the aggressor. If more clip is taken to pay attending to the aggressor and incident, the informant is more likely to accurately place the aggressor. Disguises used by aggressor can forestall accurate eye-witness designation. If the aggressor wears camouflages such as a sunglass or a chapeau, it can increase the opportunities of misidentifications ( Wells & A ; Olson, 2003 ) . When camouflages are used, informant ca n’t take the perpetrator from the line-up since the perpetrator was have oning a camouflage. Not paying adequate attending during the offense can besides take to the inside informations of the event being inquiries. Witness could place the perpetrator clearly if the incident goes on for a longer clip. This shows that this would merely increase misidentifications. Not being able to separate inside informations is unsafe as it can take to incorrect strong beliefs and this besides proves as another factor on why eye-witness testimony is non dependable.

Line-up content besides plays a function in the mistake of designations. When the constabulary have a suspect, a batting order of non-suspect will be chosen so that an guiltless suspect is non erroneously identified merely because he was “ standing out and so that the suspect does non get away merely because he was intermixing in ” ( Wells & A ; Olson, 2003, p. 287 ) . When a line-up is shown to a informant they neither may nor may non incorporate the existent perpetrator. An experiment done by Lindsay and Wells ( 1980 ) , as cited in Wells and Olson ( 2003 ) , shows that when the suspect and non-suspect expression similar, eye-witnesses tend to erroneously place a non-suspect as the suspect. In culprit-absent line-ups, it causes jobs for eyewitnesses because one normally expects the perpetrator to be present in a line-up. When they see it and they could n’t see the individual they are anticipating, informants get confused and might place a incorrect suspect. Not merely that, when there are similarities between the perpetrators and non-suspect, it poses as another job during the culprit-present line-up as it will decidedly take to misidentifications. It can be said that, use of the line-up content can do the testimony of the eye-witness to be questioned.

The feature of the informant such as their age has been extremely questionable in the eye-witness testimony issue. “ Compared to younger grownups, aged people have trouble retrieving the beginning of information ” ( Bornstein, Witt, Cherry, & A ; Greene, 2000 ) . Cohen and Faulkner ( 1989 ) , as cited in Bornstein, Witt, Cherry & A ; Greene ( 2000 ) , tested this by “ demoing participants a movie of a snatch, and so showing them with a narrative containing misleading inside informations ” before inquiring them to remember what happened in the movie. The findings show that older participants ( 70 old ages old ) were more likely to be misled by the younger participants ( 35 old ages old ) . Aged people besides easy perpetrate the error when placing from a batting order. It is found that when the batting order does non incorporate the suspect, aged people erroneously identifies at a higher rate than younger grownups ( Wells & A ; Olson, 2003 ) . Although aged people can be considered as a dependable beginning, but their memory power says otherwise as they have job memory inside informations and they are besides easy misdirect when other information comes in. Not merely that, they besides misidentify perpetrators from the line-up likely due to their inability to remember decently. Therefore, it can be said that age of informant besides has an consequence on eye-witness testimony and it poses as a hazard for misidentifications.

Recent research done by Meissner and Brigham ( 2001 ) as cited by Wells & A ; Olson ( 2003 ) , shows that people are better at acknowledging face of their ain race instead than other races. Since people are better at acknowledging their ain race, an intervening line up of different races can be confounding the the informants. In a survey covering with eye-witnesses testimony, “ Weber State University professor Sheree Josephson ” examined 40 participants in a multi-racial country of the United States, they had the participants watch a picture of a offense being committed. After 24 hours, a exposure line-up will take topographic point and the participants have to place the suspects. Most of the participants misidentify the suspects. Correct designation of the fishy occurs more frequently when the eyewitness and the suspect were of the same race ( Valkenburg, 2012 ) . Evidence now shows that people are better acknowledging their ain race compared to other race. In any instance a different race suspect is involved it shows that informant could acquire confused while placing from a line-up. A informant might acquire confuse with different races because people with different races might look similar for them. In a manner, we can state that if another race individual is different from the oculus informant ‘s race, it would decidedly do higher rate of misidentification and this is a hazard that should non be taken by jurisprudence enforcement.

The decision is that the usage of eyewitness histories is non dependable beginning of grounds because it ‘s non accurate in many ways. Its trustiness is non high and besides depends on how accurately the informant can remember all the. Not to reference besides, the race factor and the step ining line-up which besides play a function in misdirecting the informant. Eyewitness testimony will ever stay a imperative beginning of grounds but the usage of it should be carefully measured to avoid any false information or misguided strong beliefs as it can destroy another individual ‘s life.


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