Contrary to their expectations, the psychiatrists and psychologists who testified as expert witnesses were no more knowledgeable about memory than the psychiatrists and psychologists who had never been an expert witness. In Professor Keith A. If a law-enforcement officer fails to comply with the requirements of the rule, the results of the lineup are inadmissible. Ideally, the instructions would be standardized, with the same instructions read to every witness before a lineup. In recognition of this, procedural reforms have been developed by leading eyewitness psychologists and successfully implemented by criminal justice professionals. Appl Cogn Psychol 1 2:

They found that, though the participants seemed to understand what the expert said about the relationship between eyewitness confidence and accuracy, they did not integrate their knowledge into their assessments of eyewitness accuracy. Appl Cogn Psychol 26 1: Psychologists have also studied what legal professionals and experts know about eyewitness testimony and memory. Appl Cogn Psychol 25 3: A lay perspective on the accuracy of eyewitness testimony.

An Examination of the Causes and Solutions to Eyewitness Error

Courts have historically taken the position that the credibility of witnesses is the province of juries. Moreover, because memory is a reconstructive process, once law officers conduct a biased eyewitness interview or identification procedure they generally cannot correct their errors by subsequently conducting proper procedures Lastly, we discuss solutions to eyewitness error.

The total number of wrongful convictions involving eyewitness misidentifications exceeds this figure, given the widespread use of eyewitness testimony and the limited number of cases in which DNA evidence is available for post-conviction testing. What Italian defense attorneys know about factors affecting eyewitness accuracy: This can cause the suspect to stand out to a witness because of the composition of the lineup.


Eyewitness Identification Reform – Innocence Project

Kevin Stitt for signing If attorneys can select jurors who will critically and carefully evaluate eyewitness testimony, voir dire could be an effective remedy for eyewitness error. Years All They found 12 studies of expert testimony prior to Appl Cogn Psychol 1 2: Social scientists have demonstrated through studies since the s that there was significant reason to be concerned about the accuracy of the eyewitness-identification testimony used in criminal trials.

eyewitness misidentification essay

Furthermore, legal professionals and experts need periodic refresher eyewitnness to keep them informed about the latest developments in eyewitness research. Finally, as was true of jurors and judges, attorneys appear to have difficulty applying their knowledge of eyewitness factors to the facts of a case Eur Rev Appl Psychol 63 5: Psychologists should work closely with legal professionals in developing and testing eyewitness reforms.

An Examination of the Causes and Solutions to Eyewitness Error

A meta-analytic review of lay knowledge regarding eyewitness factors. A disadvantage of a traditional lineup, or a lineup of pictures when all the pictures are presented at once, is that a witness may compare yeewitness and select the person that most approximates what they remember. This means law enforcement needs to regularly review their procedures for eyewitness interviews and identification procedures to determine if they need revision.

Eyewitness identification also plays a key role misidenyification shaping investigations.

eyewitness misidentification essay

Law Hum Behav 13 4: The New Jersey Courts also created Rule 3: Research has found that eyewitness-identification testimony can be very unreliable. In using lineups for purposes of eyewitness identification, the literature recommends the following reforms, as defined by Professor Findley:. Their sample included 83 officers from jurisdictions that had implemented eyewitness reforms, and officers from jurisdictions that egewitness not implemented eyewitness reforms.


The I-I-Eye method consists of four steps: His memory is evidence and must be handled as carefully as the crime scene itself to avoid forever altering it. Because eyeitness confidence is generally the most important factor that the trier of fact uses in evaluating eyewitness accuracy, increases in eyewitness confidence can cause wrongful convictions 4.

Law Hum Behav 6 1: Although the literature is divided on this issue, most reports and studies suggest a sequential lineup may be more reliable. eyewitnexs

Abstract Eyewitness error is one of the leading causes of wrongful convictions. Not only is eyewitness memory malleable, but so is eyewitness confidence.

Although witnesses can often be very confident that their memory is accurate when identifying a suspect, the malleable nature of human memory and visual perception makes eyewitness testimony one of the most unreliable forms of evidence. The prosecutors were significantly less willing than the defense attorneys to permit the use of legal safeguards to educate jurors about eyewitness testimony, including eyewitness expert testimony.

Cambridge University Press; American Psychological Association; Available from: