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1Running HEADER: INACCURACY OF EYEWITNESS TESTIMONY IN CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEMPsychological research shows that eyewitness testimony is not always accurate,therefore it should not be used in the criminal justice system.Ramsey SkellyGriffith University (OUA)Student Number: S2827308Course: CCJ10Tutor: Tracy MeehanDue Date: 4thFebruary 2018 Date Submitted: 4thFebruary 2018Word Count: 1947
2INACCURACY OF EYEWITNESS TESTIMONY IN CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEMEyewitness testimony refers to an account given by a person who has visually observedan event, and discloses that account in the courts. Although there is uncertaintysurrounding the inaccuracy of eyewitness testimony, there is a place for this type ofevidence in the criminal justice system, but in what context? This paper will discuss theeffectiveness and value of eyewitness testimony and that it should not be givenprobative value, but more so, used to corroborate forensic evidence such asDeoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) and Closed-Circuit Television (CCTV) to add strength toa case. Furthermore, this paper will examine possible safeguards to improve theprocesses around suspect identification, eyewitness testimony, juror perception andcoercive and cognitive interviews.There is a startling number of cases where innocent people have been wrongfullyincarcerated as a result of poor or dishonest eyewitness testimony (Wells, Small,Penrod, Malpass, Solomon, Fulero & Brimacombe, 1998). Huff, Rattner, and Sagarin(1996) surveyed 188 judges, prosecuting attorneys, public defenders, sheriffs and Ohiostate police, as well as 41 attorney generals throughout the United States to concludethat in 2009, 0.5% of the 10 million serious crimes, the convicted offenders wereinnocent (Huff et al., 1996). Despite research indicating the lack of evidentiary valuethat eyewitness testimonies contribute to successful convictions, they are still beingrelied upon as primary evidence. Conversely, DNA has provided stronger evidentiaryvalue within the criminal justice system. DNA has shown it is almost irrefutable in thecriminal justice system (Wells & Olson, 2002). Preceding the introduction of forensicDNA evidence, the criminal justice system had been warned of difficulties associatedwith eyewitness testimony (Wells & Olsen, 2002). An example is a case in 1986, wherePolice asked molecular biologist Alec Jefferys, who had begun investigating the use of
3INACCURACY OF EYEWITNESS TESTIMONY IN CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEMDNA for forensics, to use DNA to verify the confession of a 17-year-old boy in tworape-murders in the English Midlands (Calandro, Comier & Reeder, 2005). The testresults returned, vindicating the boy and Police later caught the perpetrator; had therebeen no DNA evidence, there is a likely chance the boy would have been convicted ofthe crimes he did not commit.

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