How Accurate are Eyewitness Testimonies?

Assessing Eyewitness Testimonies

Not all eyewitness testimonies are reliable. The 1984 identification of 22-year-old Ronald Cotton by Jennifer Thompson indicates that the criminal justice system cannot rely only on eyewitness identification because the evidence can be used to convict the incorrect person. In this case, Thompson was certain that Cotton had attacked and raped her. 11 years later, Cotton was cleared of the crime due to DNA evidence (Thompson-Cannino, 2009). The example indicates that eyewitnesses are unreliable because they may rely on erroneous memories, resulting in faulty testimony. Displaying a suspect’s photograph to a witness raises the probability of a mistaken identification. In her case, Thompson originally doubted that Cotton was the perpetrator, but as time passed and she saw his photograph, she gained confidence in her testimony.

Justifications for Utilizing Eyewitness Testimony

According to evidence from numerous incidents, eyewitness testimony is not always trustworthy. However, such evidence is still significant in some situations, especially when the victim can identify the culprit. Additionally, the testimony is important in scenarios with differing levels of corroboration. The amount of confidence of the witness also effects the spectator’s testimony. In psychological experiments, it is believed that confidence accurately predicts eyewitness accuracy.

Consequently, courts and law enforcement can use such evidence after examining the credibility of the witness. In Thompson’s case, the witness initially lacked confidence, but her self-assurance developed with time. Confident witnesses are more likely to deliver reliable testimony, particularly when supporting evidence is available. Consequently, despite the likelihood of error, evidence continues to play a crucial part in criminal justice.

The Truth about False Memory Formation

Elizabeth Loftus, a psychologist, investigated the malleability of human memory in order to demonstrate the presence of false recollections. She asserts that…

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