Accuracy of an Eyewitness Testimony

2095 words 9 pages
The Accuracy of an Eyewitness Testimony
Student: Amy Mason
Number: 2842657
Tutor: Serena Nicholls
Tutorial Time: Thursday 10am - 10:50am
Due date: Friday 21st September 21, 2012
Word count: 1858

Psychological research shows that eyewitness testimony is not always accurate, therefore it should not be used in the criminal justice system. Discuss.

The reliability if an eyewitness testimony is questionable. The witness may be so certain that the person that thy are pointing out is one hundred per cent the suspect or they could be so certain when it comes to retelling the incident, although these people are so sure on what it is they are doing, their testimony cannot always accurate. Due to the lack of accuracy with eyewitness
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(Wise, Fisherman & Safer, 2009). This study showed that along with the errors and wrongful imprisonment, a number of defendants had been wrongfully sent to death. Eyewitness testimonies count for the majority of wrongful convictions of both men and women. The Innocence Project is an organisation that help those who are wrongfully convicted be exonerated through DNA testing. When looking up cases on the Innocence Project website, I found most cases were due to an eyewitness identification, with most of these innocent people serving ten years plus in prison. The Innocence Project found that out of 138 cases, two-thirds of the DNA exonerated cases were due to an eyewitness testimony (Howitt, 2012). Some of these cases are fairly old and may have begun when DNA testing was not possible, many women and men were sentenced to jail time for crimes they did not commit for long periods of times. If eyewitness evidence is going to continue to be used as evidence it should not be used as the most reliable source of evidence. DNA tests should be used and held as a more reliable source of evidence, as a persons eyewitness identification can not always be held accountable or accurate. For a more effective result DNA and eyewitness evidence should be collaborated, to lower the rate of wrongful convictions of men and women.

To cut and lower the rates of wrongful convictions Judges and Jurors need to be better educated in the accuracy


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