Eye witness testimony

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Of the first 40 cases overturned by new DNA evidence, 36 of the people were defendants convicted on eyewitness testimony. Many errors are made when a witness of a crime or event attempts to recall the experience. In a police interview an eyewitness may relay false information in an attempt to be as helpful as possible. A court jury will often declare a person guilty based solely on an eyewitness testimony, although many mistakes are often made through memory. Elizabeth Loftus claims

" ┬Ža confident witness, particularly one who's got details and expresses that detail in a confident manner, can be very persuasive," although the details may not be entirely correct the witness may have persuaded themselves to believe it, which is precisely why police interviews need to be structured correctly so as to gather accurate information. A witness who honestly believes he or she has identified the right person or seen a weapon, for example, can lead to a conviction because juries tend to believe that confidence equals accuracy.

After observing a crime, a person will later reconstruct it to be able to talk about it. This is one reason why eyewitness testimony is unreliable. It is not that people are knowingly stating false information... Continue Reading