The Role Of The Eyewitness On The Criminal Justice System Essay

The Role Of The Eyewitness On The Criminal Justice System Essay

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Throughout history, eyewitnesses have always played an important role in criminal justice system. The job of the eyewitness is important because sometimes those witnessing a crime may be the only evidence police may have to go on. Because this may be the case sometimes, it is crucial that the eyewitness do the best they can to pick out the suspect who they believe committed the crime. Unfortunately, however, the memory of the eyewitness may not always be at is best and they may forget a few details of what the criminal looked like or may have forgetting everything about the criminal in general. Some of the things that may affect an eyewitness’s memory during the crime are the amount of stress or emotional arousal they were in. Some studies have shown that an increase of stress can worsen the eyewitness’s memory. An example of this would be if the criminal were to hold a weapon up to the eyewitness. This would cause the eyewitness to focus more on the weapon instead of on the criminal. Other studies have shown that an increase of emotional arousal actually increases the memory of the eyewitness. An example of this was a study done where participants who listened to a narration that had an emotionally arousing voice remembered more from it than participants who listed to the same narration in a neutral sounding voice (Kim, Park, and Lee 709). Another controversial topic about eyewitness identification is whether or not expecting the crime to happen increases memory or not. Some studies show that if the eyewitness expects a person to commit a crime, they being encoding faster because they have already identified the main characteristics to the criminal. Other studies have shown that if an eyewitness expects a person to commit a crim...


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...710-712).
After reading this article, I feel that having a threatening situation take place unexpectedly does affect the memory, but not by much. The results did say that people who were in a threatening and unexpected scenario did score lower in memory than two scenarios, but it wasn’t by much. I also don’t think 97 participants should count for all eyewitnesses in the future, since everyone memory works differently. Over all I think that if there is a situation where an eyewitness has to be used who was in a threatening and unexpected situation, the court should still consider using the eyewitness as evidence, but should also be just a little causes when using the eyewitness as well. I also believe the court should also be cause of any eyewitness that they use regardless of the situation, because no one can be fully sure that the eyewitness is going to be correct.

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