An Eyewitness On The Criminal Justice System Essay example

An Eyewitness On The Criminal Justice System Essay example

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In an everyday scene, telling a story to a friend that might not be accurate when explaining all the details of a specific scene would not have repercussions. On the contrary, in the criminal justice system, an eyewitness person has a crucial role in describing the exact details of the suspect in a criminal case. In the movie “What Jennifer Saw” the police officers, the defendant’s criminal record, the eyewitness’s high level of memory confidence, emotions and constant alibis, contributed to the wrongful sentencing of Ronald Cotton for 11 years. Many individuals unconsciously may contribute to a false sense of confidence in the eyewitness. Eyewitness misidentification has great impacts in the legal system and in our society. In recent years, many convicted individuals have been exonerated because of the immense contributions of DNA testing in criminal investigations. Unfortunately, not all the criminal cases involve physical contact between the victim and the criminal. The criminal justice system and society need improvements to reduce the errors when relying on eyewitness testimony.
Factors leading to Memory Errors
When encountered with a traumatic event, such as being a victim of a crime, there are many contributors that might cause the victim not been able to concentrate his or her attention on the criminal. One contributor can be found when analyzing the time and location of the environmental context in which the crime occurred. For example, Jennifer Thompson stated “brief pieces of light that I could piece together as much as I could piece together” (Innocence Project). The crime occurred at three a.m. in the morning; there was poor lighting visibility, and Jennifer was sleeping when the crime occurred. This helps us determi...


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... perpetrator. This can make us realize the immense errors that as a society we are currently making, in which if we don’t improve out methods, a real perpetrator might be actively committing more crimes. Hopefully society and the system will educate it’s participants about the immense consequences not only for the suspect, victim, law enforcement agency, but also for the community in general. Finally, I believe that by considering that in rape cases (majority, but not all) the suspect leaved physical evidence, what about cases where the suspect does not leave traces, or when the eyewitness only has a limited amount of time to observe the suspect’s physical characteristics. This can help us realize, that if we are making mistakes in rape cases, we should consider the errors made in the present and past to minimize the possibilities of committing errors in the future.

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