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The Faulty Eyewitness Testimony–I’m sure I saw him!

April 30th, 2013 4 comments

“Most cases don’t turn on DNA evidence. Most turn on eyewitness testimony and admissions by defendants.”

—-District Attorney General of U.S.—Barry P. Staubus

It’s often said that seeing is believing, but many times our memories can be  misleading or even completely inaccurate. It might be no big deal in our daily life to mistakenly remember something, but in a courtroom, it could possibly send an innocent man to prison or even to the electric chair. One of the most frequently used and widely accepted pieces of evidence in today’s trials is eyewitness testimony, in which a witness is asked to pick the potential suspect out of a lineup, or to describe the characteristics of the perpetrator so that the police could run it through the data base and come up with an ID. However, as our memories could potentially be inaccurate, eyewitness testimonies are not always 100 percent true. In a significant number of criminal trials, the identification could be completely wrong and because the witness is “very confident” about the identification, an innocent man would wind up in jail.

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