How important is eyewitness testimony in criminal cases?
Nowadays, criminal justice is one of the most complicated procedures. This situation takes place, as the original sequence of events is not clear (Fulero & Wrightsman, 2008). Using the testimony of eyewitnesses is important. They help to add missing details to the crime scene and offer a novel viewpoint of the lawbreaking (Fulero & Wrightsman, 2008). It could be said that the primary goal of the paper is to highlight a pivotal role of eyewitnesses in the lawsuit.
One of the examples is the lawsuit and complaint against the beauty school in Connecticut (Lucey, 2016). The students presented that the institution did not have a permanent instructor (Lucey, 2016). This aspect was the primary reason for the late graduation. It could be stated that the eyewitnesses of the school order help reveal that the school does not correspond with the state educational standards.
In the end, the case highlighted above claimed that the information provided by eyewitnesses is critical for adding additional information to the court suit. It assists in evaluating a situation from different angles and take into account the viewpoint of the bystander. Thus, consulting the bystanders can ease the decision-making of the judge and determine whether the convicted person is guilty.
Can eyewitness testimony contribute to wrongful convictions?
The memory of the witnesses could be biased and lead to the wrongful convictions (Fulero & Wrightsman, 2008). In this case, the primary goal of the essay is to highlight that using eyewitness testimony is not always a positive trend with the help of the recent court suit. Finally, the conclusions are drawn to summarize the findings.
The modern court history is full of the cases with eyewitness testimony, which lead to tragic mistakes. One of the examples is the recent case of Darren Wilson, who was convicted for shooting Michael Brown (Department of Justice, 2015). In this case, the bystanders supported different sides of the crime. For instance, some of them believed that Wilson was acting in self-defense while others gave credible grounds to protect Brown (Department of Justice, 2015). In this case, the different opinions of eyewitnesses were the primary reasons for the complications of the lawsuit. Simultaneously, it is apparent that some of the viewpoints were clearly biased.
In the end, the factors highlighted above state that despite the positive intentions of eyewitness testimony, this process could lead to the wrongful decision-making. It might be discovered as one of the potential reasons for convicting innocent people. Thus, the primary rationale for that is the biased and corrupted memory and misidentification of the actors of the crime scene. These facts underline that the eyewitness testimony requires improvement.
What are your impressions on children as eyewitnesses in trials? How might issues of public policy in regard to recent changes in statute-of-limitation laws in recovered memories or child sexual abuse cases be a factor?
The modern court systems tend to progress to increase the accuracy of convictions. This intention is the primary cause of involvement of children as eyewitnesses or victims of sexual harassments. Thus, the statute of limitations restricts the time, which allows the child to provide information to the court (Fulero & Wrightsman, 2008). As for me, I tend to believe that children could be used as eyewitnesses, but the time could not be extended, as, otherwise, it could have an adverse impact on their vulnerable minds.
One of the examples is the case of Yerger, where the man was found guilty of molesting four children (Rellahan, 2015). In this case, acquiring evidence right after the act helped find a person guilty of the presented crime. Meanwhile, the court consulted children only in the beginning of the trial to avoid having an adverse impact on their psychological development.
In the end, the statute of limitations is reasonable, as the memories of eyewitness are clear after the occurrence of an accident (Bodine, 2013). However, the questions have to be asked carefully to minimize stress levels. A combination of these aspects will have a positive impact on the resolution of the case, as the extended time might bias the memories.
Bodine, L. (2013). “I saw what you did – or did I?” – The unreliability of eyewitness testimony. The Huffington Post. Web.
Fulero, S., & Wrightsman, L. (2008). Forensic psychology. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth Cengage Learning.
Lucey, K. (2016, February 4). Students file complaints against beauty school. Eyewitness News. Web.
Rellahan, M. (2015, July 17). Ex-Phoenixville sentenced for ‘worst’ child sexual abuse case in Chesco. Daily Times News. Web.