Even though eye witness testimonies at times can be accurate, they should always be taking with a grain of salt since this is not always the case since many many people may fall under many false conceptions they might’ve had about the situation at hand. There have been many studies done regarding the reliability of the testimony for eyewitnesses and the findings are to be taken seriously when we think of somebody else’s and even our own recollection. Studies have proven that eyewitness testimony is not one-hundred percent accurate, but a huge predictor of reliability can be the persons ability of to recognize the faces of strangers. Although this does not mean that a person with a high ability to recognize faces should be taken without any doubt.
For instance, “Existing research on eyewitness identification has shown that a participant’s level of confidence can be a strong predictor of identification accuracy. But high-confidence mis-identifications do occur, even under the best of circumstances. Decision time and face-recognition ability can help predict the value of a high-confidence identification” (Dodson, 2020, para. 14). It is also important to note that, “there is a sufficient body of research documenting that identification speed is related to accuracy to recommend that law enforcement should routinely record the time it takes an eyewitness to make an identification from a lineup. And our research shows that face-recognition ability – as measured by the CFMT – also influences the relationship between confidence and identification accuracy” (Dodson, 2020, para. 15).
There have been instances of wrongful convictions where the lineup’s are placed in certain manner to distinguish the person who has been accused. In a case were a man named Richard Jones was falsely convicted for something similar happened to him. For example, “Jones’s conviction was based solely on flawed eyewitness testimony, the greatest contributing factor to wrongful conviction, according to the Innocence Project. Equally flawed is the police photo lineup designed for witnesses to identify no one else but Jones, Craig said. It shows a picture of Jones, along with those of five other black men. He was the only one with light skin” (Phillips, 2017, para. 20). Even though he an alibi to count for his innocence, he was still convicted. It could be argued that he was a victim of the misinformation effect, which is defined as, “incorporating “misinformation” into one’s memory of the event after witnessing an event and receiving misleading information about it” (Myers, 2018, pg. 457). This is one of the many reasons why we must be vigilant when being responsible for testimony, and it is necessary to consider all of these facts when relying upon this type of testimony.
Myers, D. (2018). Social psychology (13th Edition). McGraw-Hill Higher Education (US). https://full-bookshelf.vitalsource.com/books/9781260140569 (Links to an external site.)
Dodson, C. (2020). Distinguishing between reliable and unreliable eyewitnesses: I’m bad with faces. Judicature, 104(1), 37.
Phillips, K. (2017, June 13). An innocent man served 17 years. His ‘crime’? He looked almost exactly like the real suspect. Washington Post. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/true-crime/wp/2017/06/13/an-innocent-man-served-17-years-his-crime-he-looked-almost-exactly-like-the-real-suspect/ (Links to an external site.)

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