Rely On Eye Witness Testimonies To Identify Suspects Criminology Essay

Critically measure the literature and, based on research grounds, warrant your decisions. An eyewitness testimony is a remembrance of an event that a individual has witnessed for illustration giving information of a mugging if they saw it go on. They would hold to give inside informations on the mugger and what precisely happened. Eyewitness testimonies are widely used and relied on in the legal system, particularly in tribunal where jurymans base their finding of fact to a great extent on the eyewitness testimony. The lone job is that there is a batch of research to back up the thought that eyewitness testimonies are non dependable. Eyewitness testimonies can be affected by a figure of things, for illustration emphasis and deceptive inquiries, these can do the testimony to be altered and become extremely undependable.

This suggests that eyewitness testimonies should non be used as grounds to place offense suspects. Research has been conducted into eyewitness testimonies to see what affects the informant ‘s callback of events and why their testimonies are non right. Research has besides been conducted to see what increases the dependability of eyewitness testimonies and to assist jurymans non to trust as to a great extent on the testimonies and see all the groundsHundreds of 1000s of people each twelvemonth in the USA, England and Wales are found guilty of offenses based wholly on eyewitness histories. In the tribunals eyewitness testimonies are really influential pieces of grounds. However DNA grounds is besides a strong piece of grounds.

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Old tribunal instances where people have already been convicted have been examined once more but with DNA trials. These scrutinies have cleared guiltless people ‘s names ; these trials have shown that guiltless people were convicted for something they did non make. Wells et Al ( 1998 as cited in..

) found that out of the 40 Deoxyribonucleic acid instances to turn out the artlessness of people, that 90 % used eyewitness testimonies. Of these testimonies at least one of the informants falsely identified a individual. It has besides been found by Scheck, Neufield and Dawyer ( 2000 as cited in.. ) that out of 62 re-examination instances there were 52 misguided individualities, with an overall 77 incorrect eyewitness testimonies. This caused Wells et Al ( 1998 as cited in..

. ) to propose that “ eyewitness designation grounds is amongst the least dependable signifiers of grounds and yet it is persuasive to juries ” Unfortunately eyewitness testimonies are still used widely and extremely depended on because DNA grounds can non ever be used. DNA grounds is normally merely used in sexual assault instances. Again this is farther grounds to propose that eyewitness testimonies should non be relied on to place offense suspects. Eye witness testimonies seem to convict more guiltless people than existent felons. ( possibly put in decision )It has been found by Cunningham and Tyrell ( 1976 cited in.. ) that jurymans will believe eyewitness testimonies over several other informants and grounds, for illustration a suspect was convicted of a offense even though 40 people testified in his defense mechanism.

He was convicted because there were 9 oculus informant testimonies even though most of them could non be certain that he was the individual they saw perpetrating the offense. Due to this Harmon Hosch, E Beck and Patricia McIntyre ( 1980 ) conducted a survey in which they looked at the jurymans analyzing a instance. They besides looked at juryman ‘s responses to expert testimonies and to what would acquire jurymans non to trust as to a great extent on oculus informant testimonies. Hosch, Beck and McIntyre ( 1980 ) simulated a tribunal instance in which a robbery had been committed. In this instance the eyewitness testimony was the lone grounds associating the suspect to the offense.

The defense mechanism showed grounds that the accused had been at his girlfriend ‘s house and had so gone to work, geting on clip. The suspect had besides been on the phone to his girlfriend at the clip of the burglary. There were 4 Jurors, they all heard the constabulary testimony, the eyewitness testimony, the suspect and the suspect ‘s girlfriend. After this, two of the jurymans were led out of the room, the two staying jurymans so heard an adept testimony. The adept testimony being a psychologist, the testimony included grounds to propose that eyewitness testimonies can be influenced by a figure of factors. The jurymans were so led to divide suites so they could consider and hold on a finding of fact. From this survey Hosch, Beck and McIntyre ( 1980 ) found that the inclusion of an adept testimony increased the juryman ‘s clip used analyzing the eyewitness testimony. The two jurymans that had had heard the adept testimony spent 27.

9 % of their clip assigned to the eyewitness where as the jurymans who had non heard the expert testimony merely spent 9.58 % of their clip analyzing the oculus informant testimony. Hosch, Beck and McIntyre ( 1980 ) besides found that the Jurors who heard the adept testimony spent more clip looking at the other grounds shown by the defense mechanism.

This survey shows that eyewitness testimonies should still be used as grounds but that there should besides be an adept testimony presented. The adept testimony gets the jurymans to see the thought that non all eyewitness testimonies are accurate, and that there is other grounds that is merely every bit of import. Eye witness testimonies should be relied on to place offense suspects every bit long as it matches with the other grounds presented.

Elizabeth Loftus is one of the chief research workers into eyewitness testimonies. She has conducted many experiments into this country ; one specific survey was on the effects of taking inquiries. A prima inquiry is where a inquiry implies the sought after reply or leads the individual to the needed reply. Loftus conducted the experiment with John Palmer.

They showed 45 participants 7 movies, demoing a route traffic accident. The participants were so asked a figure of inquiries about what they had merely seen. They were asked how fast the autos were traveling when they hit each other. For each group of participants the experimenters changed the word hit for the inquiry, to include the words smashed, collided, bumped and contacted. They found that the diction of the inquiry affected the participant ‘s study of the velocity. Those in the besotted group had a higher mean velocity than those in the contacted group. Loftus and Palmer explained this in two ways.

Firstly it could be that the word smashed makes participants gauge higher, peculiarly if they are diffident what velocity to state. Second it could be that participant ‘s memory was changed by the diction for illustration the word smashed may hold made the participant retrieve the accident as more sever, hence faster. This experiment shows how people ‘s testimonies can be easy changed by a few words ; this experiment suggests that eyewitness testimonies are non dependable and that they should non be used to place offenses.Loftus and Palmer ( 1974 ) conducted a 2nd experiment to back up their consequences further. They showed 150 participants a movie of a route accident.

Participants were so split into 3 conditions ; control group, smashed group and hit group. Participants were asked the inquiry on how fast the auto was traveling? Participants returned a hebdomad subsequently and were asked a series of inquiries. One of the inquiries being did you see any broken glass? When in fact there was no broken glass in the movie. 32 % of the participants in the besotted group said yes to seeing broken glass compared to the 14 % in the hit group. This once more suggests that the original diction of a inquiry can impact our opinion and callback in the hereafter.

Therefore a taking inquiry in an initial constabulary interview can alter a individual ‘s memory ; this could hold serious effects for future replies to inquiries in tribunal. This could take to an guiltless individual being convicted of a offense they did non carry on. This research has shown how eyewitness testimonies can alter by one inquiry and how undependable these testimonies can be. Consequently it besides suggests that eyewitness testimonies should non be used to place offenses or offense suspects.Eyewitness testimonies ab initio can be really accurate every bit long as they are non subjected to taking or curtailing inquiries, or holds between the incident and the callback.

Jack Lipton ( 1977 ) conducted a survey that looked at these factors which decrease the dependability of eyewitness testimonies. Lipton ( 1977 ) showed 80 participants a movie of a mugging in a quiet LA park. Participants would so hold to attest instantly or a hebdomad subsequently.

They would be scored on how many points they identified. There were 144 points of which 48 were assigned to the inquiry types ( taking, multiple pick and open ended ) used and degrees of inquiry prejudice ( positive, negative and impersonal ) . Lipton ( 1977 ) found that truth decreased by 4.3 % after a hebdomad hold, he besides found that unfastened ended inquiries were 83 % accurate compared to taking inquiries being merely 72 % accurate and multiple pick inquiries being the least accurate with merely 56 % accurate. Besides impersonal prejudice inquiries had the highest truth with 83 % .

This caused Lipton to reason that the manner a inquiry is expressed has immense effects on the rightness of an eyewitness testimony for illustration an lawyer can utilize inquiries to pull strings the testimony in their favor. Besides he concluded that unstructured inquiries result in really accurate but uncomplete eyewitness testimonies and the antonym when the inquiries are structured. Eyewitness testimonies hence could be relied on to place offense suspects every bit long as the testimony is taken directly off and is non restricted. Although the testimony may non be complete it could give valuable penetration into who may hold committed the offense specially when combined with other grounds.

There is a batch of grounds to propose that eyewitness testimonies should non be relied on to place a offense suspect. This is due to testimonies being subjected to factors that could alter the informant ‘s memory of the event. Unfortunately some factors can non be removed to halt this occurrence, for illustration you can non halt a individual from acquiring stressed.

However the hold between the event and the callback could b decreased so the memory is fresh and more accurate. Besides the manner the testimony is recalled could be changed so that the informant is non restricted or mislead by the inquiries asked. The eyewitness testimony should be relied on every bit long as it has back uping grounds.


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