Eyewitness Identification Dilemmas In Criminal Justice

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On April 21, 2014, Jeff Rossen and Avni Patel published an article called Mistaken for a criminal: Eyewitness identifications are often wrong on Today.com. These journalists raise the awareness of misinformation effect done by witnesses that harms innocent accused criminals. In order to raise the awareness of this problem, this article displays some of the recent changes that some states have done to help reduce the amount of eyewitness identification errors there are. A criminal justice professor at John Jay College, Jennifer Dysart stated “A lot of things actually influence our memory. Many outside influences can come in and really create a problem.” With that being said, the lives of accused suspects are put into the hands of eyewitnesses. This means that if eyewitnesses provide false information, it could really harm the suspect even though he/she is innocent. In the article, Rossen and Patel had also shared the two types of lineups that police like to give out to eyewitnesses. One of the two lineups is called “simultaneous” and simultaneous is when there are a line of people and witnesses have to pick a suspect. On the other hand, there is the “sequential” lineup. In the sequential lineup, authorities will show witnesses some pictures by itself. According to Rossen and Patel’s article, researchers have found that people make less mistake going through the sequential lineup compared to the simultaneous lineup. Therefore, advocates had been trying to push police departments to use more sequential lineups rather than using simultaneous lineups. Beyond the study on which lineup has less errors, the authors also gave tips on what to do in order to be a more dependable witness. Some of the tips that were listed are get into safety,...

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...ts are sitting in their cells reminiscing about the freedom they once had. Another thought that came to mind when I was reading the articles was how so many of the convicts were so close to death row. And that lead me to think “How many people actually died on death row but was actually innocent?” I really pondered on questions like this and it really made me think of how well our legal system was and if the legal system had realized they made a mistake but just swept it under the carpet. Other than questions similar to this, I thought that this was a wonderful topic and I really enjoyed working on this paper. It has lead me to read more articles about this topic and realize how cruel some people are. This topic has really given me an interest in learning more about the legal system and how we can use the legal system to protect ourselves and the people around us.

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