Essay On Eye Witness Testimonies

Friday, September 24, 2021 12:20:57 PM

Essay On Eye Witness Testimonies



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Eye witness testimony

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Mary Fairchild. Christianity Expert. Mary Fairchild is a full-time Christian minister, writer, and editor of two Christian anthologies, including "Stories of Cavalry. Facebook Facebook Twitter Twitter. Updated November 07, Your conversion and new life in Christ should be the main points. Be specific. Include events, genuine feelings, and personal insights that clarify your main point. Make your testimony tangible and relevant so others can relate to it.

Be current. Tell what's happening in your life with God right now, today. Be honest. Don't exaggerate or dramatize your story. The simple, straightforward truth of what God has done in your life is all the Holy Spirit needs to convict others and convince them of God's love and grace. Cite this Article Format. Fairchild, Mary. It is because of these reasons that it is suggested by experts in Psychology that the witness be apprised before hand that it is possible that the suspect may not even be in the line-up.

Kathryn Foxhall This lightens the pressure upon the witness and informs him that he does not have to make a choice among the suspects in the line-up if based on his recollection no one resembles the perpetrators of the crime. The manner of the presentation of the suspects in the police lineup also affects the retention of the memory of the eyewitness. The customary manner of presenting suspects is that all of them are simultaneously presented at the same time to the eyewitness. Recent studies have shown that the witness has greater possibility of making false identification when all suspects are presented simultaneously at the same time. In this procedure, the witness almost always makes the choice as to who among the suspects appearing before her is the most likely culprit, to the point of comparing which among the persons in the lineup is the most likely suspect instead of making a genuine recollection of the event.

It is therefore preferred that the sequential viewing of suspects in a police line up should be adopted. In this procedure, the testimony is more reliable because he is more likely to test his recollection on the basis of what is in his memory and not among the suspects who are in front of him. Also, before the next suspect is shown to the witness the administrator will have to ask the witness whether or not he is sure of his choice.

This same theory has been applied in the use of photographs as a means of identification of the suspect. Melissa Dittmann. Further, the differences in the appearance among the suspects presented in a police lineup likewise send implicit signals to the witness. Every police line-up should be administered in such a way that all the persons in the police line-up actually resemble the suspect. Fairness demands that the suspects must at least be of the same height, skin color, and clothing. Making one suspect stand out from the rest would be as if the administrator of the police line-up is making the witness point to him. Photo-biased Identification is another factor that affects the reliability of the eyewitness testimony. This familiarity may be mistaken by the eyewitness to be the actual accused.

It may happen that because of the constant viewing of photographs the witness may actually confuse the face that he saw during the killing and the face that he saw when he was viewing the photo. Thus, unconsciously, the witness may actually think that the person he was pointing to was the person who committed the crime where in fact he was only pointing to a person whose face resembled that of the photograph he saw earlier. Further, the distortion in the memory of the witness need not be caused by extraneous events, it may be caused by the perceiver himself. One factor here is his relationship with the accused.

It is possible that the testimony of the mother in favor of her son that her son was not present at the time of the killing is less reliable compared to the testimony of a disinterested person testifying that he actually saw the accused at the scene of the crime. The second is his age. Old age affects the memory of a witness. It is possible that the memory in the mind of the witness is no longer the original memory and is no longer an accurate perception of the event because of the biases of the witness himself.

When the witness has told his story, this act itself may distort the original memory. Psychologists say that when witnesses have stated facts in a particular way or have identified a particular person as the perpetrator in a particular way, most of the time he is unwilling to reconsider the possibility that he may have given a wrong description of the event or wrong identification of the perpetrator. Thus, the act of telling a story adds another layer of distortion, which in turn affects the underlying memory of the event. Laura Engelhardt It is because of this that when a witness has identified a person in police lineups he is likely to identify the same person he has previously identified in later line-ups.

Retrieval Stage. This is called the unconscious transference where memory images in the past may without the knowledge of the witness be actually confused with other memory images. In a study conducted by Robert Buckhout , he staged a mock assault in front of unsuspecting students. These students were later asked to identify the perpetrator from the 6 photographs shown to them. Eyewitness testimony is still one of the most important pieces of evidence that may help bring perpetrators of crime to justice. It is still reliable in some instances such as when the witness knows the suspect or he has previously seen the suspect.

It is also reliable when supported with physical evidence. However the readers must understand that eyewitness testimony is not reliable at all times. Jurors must therefore be cautious in making use of eyewitness testimony in convicting the accused on the sole basis of an eyewitness testimony. The knowledge of the fallibility and malleability of eyewitness testimony provides the readers with useful insights as we are prone to believe anything that another person tells us.

Human memory is not as error-free as we think it is. I have shown that right from the moment of the perception, we already have different ways of seeing, hearing, smelling and tasting an object and this depends on our experience and personality. During the acquisition stage, eyewitnesses can have a distorted view of the event because of the distance, lighting conditions, and the speed of the sequence of events.

Individual differences may also affect the acquisition stage because of stress, fear, poor eyesight, hearing impairment, degree of attention and degree of intoxication at the time he saw the event. I have also shown that even if the witness has an accurate view of the event there are certain factors which happen after the event and before the memory is retrieved which significantly affect his memory such as post-event information, leading questions, confidence malleability, knowledge of the administrator of the line-up, simultaneous showing of the accused in the line-up, photo-biased identification, relationship with the accused, old age, and the retelling of the story by the witness.

All these pieces of evidence point to the reality that despite our overconfidence in human memory, human memory is weak and could be affected and influenced by external factors and factors peculiar to the perceiver. As a result, eyewitness testimony which depends so much on human memory can be lost or destroyed or even contaminated. However, this does not mean that any testimony coming from an eyewitness should not be relied upon by the jurors. By presenting this research paper , I do not intend to destroy our confidence in eyewitness testimonies. I merely aim to help in making guidelines that could make it more reliable. Loftus and Palmer demonstrated that the type of wording or language used to witness people may have an impact on their memory, meaning their original memory can be changed.

The results of this study show that eye witness testimony can be unreliable and influenced by leading questions. In the study conducted by Loftus and Palmer they showed 45 participants, 7 clips which were presented in a random order to each group, the clips were varied between 5 to 30 seconds long and it was about traffic accidents. The results concluded that the verb used modified the speed of the vehicles, which influenced the memory of the individuals. False memory is a recollection of memories that did not happen for example imagining something that has not happened. Loftus and Pickrell wanted to test out whether false memories can be created by recommendation, in individuals.

This study observed 24 participants in which 3 of them were males and 21 of them were females all varying from ages between 18 to Loftus and Pickrell contacted all the participants relatives and were asked to provide information about any of their childhood memories. The participants were then asked to read 4 stories in which 3 of them were accurate and one of them being an untrue story about being lost in a mall, they were then told to write down any information they have recalled about each story. The results of this study concluded that false memories can be imprinted in an individual by just visualising an occasion as only 19 of 24 individuals were able to notice that the lost in the mall event was incorrect and the rest of the individuals remembered the untrue story completely.

This presumes false recollections are a case of condensed accuracy in memory, constructed on the idea of reconstructive memory.

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