CCJ10_Eyewitness Testimony.docx - Psychological research...

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Psychological research shows that eyewitness testimony is not always accurate, therefore it should not be used in the criminal justice system. Discuss. Before the official emergence of the field of forensic psychology in 1970 debates on the accuracy of eyewitness testimony and their use in the criminal justice system have been argued. This essay discusses the ways in which eyewitness testimonies can be inaccurate but can still be used in the criminal justice system by using a number of techniques to help increase accuracy. To convey this idea, six main arguments will be discussed. Firstly the role of eyewitness testimony and the importance of eyewitness testimony in the criminal justice system will be discussed. Secondly, three points on estimator variables of eyewitness testimony will be explored and the way in which they can effect outcomes will be made. The next point will discuss system variables and the way in which the criminal justice system can help to reduce these factors. Finally the discussion of possible methods to help improve accuracy will be made before the conclusion that eyewitness testimonies are not always accurate but because they hold a strong standing in the criminal justice system should be used, providing measures are taken to ensure maximum possible efficiency. Eyewitness testimony is the account of an event by a witness used for legal reasons. In the absence of any other physical evidence, courts usually have to rely solely on eyewitness testimony. The prevalence of eyewitness testimony in the criminal justice system may be partially to blame for wrongful convictions especially before the rise of DNA testing in 1989. In America the number of exonerations of past false convictions continue to grow. Many of these suspected offenders have been convicted for severe crimes such as rape or murder and by the time of their exoneration have already served multiple years in prison or time on death row. The two main issues with this is that not only have the lives of the wrongfully convicted been affected drastically, but the main culprit may still be offending, if not already imprisoned for other crimes. In the United States alone Wise (2007) i explains that the results of a 1995 survey of 21,621 criminal cases showed that DNA testing resulted in the exoneration of 23% of cases and in 2002 another survey concluded that there was one
Psychological research shows that eyewitness testimony is not always accurate, therefore it should not be used in the criminal justice system. Discuss. wrongful conviction out of every 200 criminal cases. Before the emergence of DNA testing the wrongful convictions in court can be put down to forensic error, false confessions, and eyewitness misidentification. Eyewitnesses are generally used to identify suspects in a line-up and photospreads where misidentifications and inaccuracies are liable to happen causing the wrong person as a suspect to go to trial.

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