Challenges Associated with Eye Witness Identification in Criminal Cases
The information that is provided by the eyewitness is usually used in cases where in some cases they are used as the only evidence. In the U. S misidentification by eyewitnesses is the leading cause of convictions done today (Sporer et al, 2014). Literature Review According to social scientists, there are many significant reasons that should be considered in criminal trials when using eyewitness identification such as the accuracy of the testimony given by the eyewitness although sometimes they can be confident that their memory is accurate when identifying the suspect (Steblay, Wells & Douglass 2014). Among the reasons that make the testimony of eyewitness be an unreliable source of evidence, is the visual perception and the malleability nature of the human memory. The second cause is the courts taking very little time.
According to researchers, it is a problem that is connected to human psychology. They argue that errors occur during the identification process. An eyewitness can either be the victim, a person involved in the crime or even a person who saw the act of the crime (Rodriguez & Berry, 2014). This poses a challenge because a witness can give false information for his/her favor in cases where the witness was a victim. To solve this challenge, the witness and the lineup officer should not know the suspect being brought to the lineup. By doing this, the witness can identify the suspect with assurance and confidence (Clifford, & Bull, 2017). Moreover, in a study done by Sporer, Malpass, &Köhnken (2014), identified that in many crimes that involve the use of a weapon, witnesses tend to have difficulties in reporting especially remembering the face of the perpetrator.
Many witnesses in this situation panic a lot as run for their lives or instructed to lie down by the perpetrator. The study synthesized tests of the hypothesis using the recent meta-analysis that the use of a weapon at the scene of crime negatively affects the witnesses’ ability to describe or identify the perpetrator. The law officers, judges and attorney will now be able to receive a conceptual framework for evaluating and understanding eyewitness testimony since it a challenging aspect to them (Hurley, 2017). Studies show that they can now be able to get practical suggestions in the form of guidelines for use by attorneys either when attacking or supporting the eyewitness reliability. To overcome the challenge faced by the eyewitness in giving evidence after a crime, it is essential to implement the tripartite solution because the continual discovery of the error of eyewitness undermines the legal system credibility (Clifford, & Bull, 2017).
Furthermore, the study by Stambor (2006), shows that psychologists are helping juries and police to rethink the role of eyewitness testimony and identifications. The article takes a case of a young man John Hartman, and thugs had robbed Franklin Dayton after receiving about 1500 dollars as oil dividends. The book defines that many challenges face the investigative side of crime scenes. It addresses key topics from the prosecution and investigation, discipline, evidence and testimony, severe and persistent offending, prevention and intervention and treatment as an intervention (Sporer, Malpass,&Köhnken, 2014). The author identified that eyewitness evidence is always not perfect and enough as many face a lot of challenges in getting to identify the perpetrators. The author shows how the United Kingdom police conduct interviews after a crime have happened using forensic tools.
Mnookin(2015), reviewed forensic psychology in his study for getting evidence about eyewitness false confessions and identifications. With such measure, the aspect of eyewitness has taken a significant change compared to what was happening in the past. One of the aspects that were included in the eyewitness information was the use of DNA. In that aspect, the information provided must match with the type of DNA found in the case of the scene for the police to make any decision. In the past, the information provided by the eye withes was final, and the police were not even required to invest further the matter. They believed that since it was the victim giving such information and he/she was in the place of the scene, the person must have all the information (Clifford, 2017).
When the police are given the eyewitness information, they are likely to focus more of their investigation on that person even if he/she is innocent (Clifford, 2017). The United States court system, however, argues that the information provided by the eyewitness in some case can match with the police investigation(Clifford, 2017). As such, the two reports must be able to match before it is considered as evidence in the court. It was also passed that the mental health of the eye witness should be administered before allowing the person to act as the witness. In some case, people who were having mental issue tend to give false information about other people. At times the witness can identify a wrong suspect through his ethnicity and race group which becomes a big challenge because the accuracy of identification is not there and the suspect can be convicted wrongly (Hurley, 2017).
To deal with the challenge, the juror should have instructions if the eyewitness identification becomes a disputed issue and they should also consider the credibility of the eyewitness by questioning them thoroughly. In addition, the use of forensic psychology is very important when it comes to eyewitness identification. The criminal enforcement officers must first carry out a forensic audit to the scene of the crime and get all the information that would act as evidence. With such information, they can include an eyewitness report to verify some of the information obtained such as the DNA test. What the witness may have seen may be either distorted or inaccurate or in another case completely wrong. The chances are more to have an erroneous identification that may arise due to improper lineup procedures (Hurley, 2017).
The police in other cases attempt to detain innocent suspects in the act that they are under interrogation. They tend to confess to crimes which they have not even played any role. The reception of the psychological evidence in the judicial perspective has been somehow rocky and stuttering. As such, the police report must match with the information obtained from the eyewitness identification. It is likely that more reforms will be enforced in the future regarding the issue of eyewitness identification. References 1. Clifford, B. R. aspx 3. McGuire, J. Review of Forensic Psychology: Concepts, debates, and practice. Legal And Criminological Psychology, 10(2), 309-310. doi:10. N. , Cash, D. K. , Gronlund, S. D. , & Berry, M. A. The effect of line‐up administrator blindness on the recording of eyewitness identification decisions.
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