CJUS 640 Research Paper 1

Eyewitness Identification TestimonyEveretta Taylor

Liberty University


Eyewitness identification proof acquires a different mixture of factors that categorize it from other types of proof: not only is it prone to inaccuracies, but it also has a strong power on the jury. Additionally, it is not exposed to the traditional protections of the opposing system, such as conflict and analysis. Eyewitness identification, testimony apart from other types of evidence, justify special attention by courts. This research paper reveals the eyewitness testimony and the legal system, construction and reconstruction of eyewitness memories, research findings to improve eyewitness accuracy, methods for refreshing the memories of witnesses problems, suggestions and recommendations for eyewitness identification testimony and issues related to reliability of eyewitness testimony in the criminal justice system, as well as biblical support for your suggestions.

The research paper also discusses various within and outside factors affecting the certainty of eyewitness identification, such as concentration, stress level, bias, prior experience, emotional state, degree of positive assurance, biased lineups, and ethnic or personal bias, with an important on the need to stimulate the law enforcement agency and jurors concerning the dependability of eyewitness testimony to avoid bias.

Eyewitness Identification TestimonyDescription display are frequently used by police and can control the future guidance of an investigation. Nevertheless, analysis has show that incorrect identi?cations can be a major source of failure of justice. Thus, extort accurate eyewitness identi?cation proof is of outstanding importance to shield against wrongful convictions. Given its eminence within police practice, eyewitness identi?cation is a field that has been dimly researched in laboratory situations to investigate different factors affecting identi?cation certainty, namely estimator and system changing.

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One important factor that has received a scarcity of attention is the effect of viewing multiple criminals in a single crime on witness identi?cation performance for all criminals. This is surprising when between 2003 and 2008 there has been an increase in crimes involving four or more criminals, from 19 per cent to 25 per cent. One aspect of multiple criminal crime is gang crime and the correlate crime class such as gun and knife crime. Gun-enabled crime from gangs climb by 30 per cent between 2008 and 2009 and a high pro?le government lobby to tackle knife crime in England has failed to cut the number of fatal stabbings. The research paper discusses diverse internal and external points moving the truthfulness of eyewitness identification, such as thought, stress level, racism, earlier experience, psychological state, degree of trust, biased lineups, and racial or personal bias, with an emphasis on the need to sensitize the law enforcement agency and jurors regarding the accuracy of eyewitness testimony to prevent discrimination.

Eyewitness Testimony and Legal System

Eyewitness Testimony is quite deliberate a basic part of criminal justice system. Eyewitness testimony is established on human perception, which is pliable and can be calmly wry without knowledge leading to incorrect description. It is one of the major causes for wrongful convictions. An eyewitness may be beneficial in criminal analysis and pursuit as he/ she may remember criminal activities, recognize the criminal, or provide useful fact related to a crime. But various studies administer by famous psychologists in the last three decades and recent cases of vindication by DNA analysis has made eyewitness testimony a doubtful investigation tool per se that aids the criminal justice system. Various psychologists have studied human memory since the early nineteenth century. And the conclusion of such studies is much surprising which plan that human memory can be mar due to errors in different level of memory. There are three main level in memory where an error may occur, i.e., encrypt growth of event, depository event is stored for a particular lasting, or recall recovery of event. However human memory is more often alleged to be enduring sometimes deliberate as accurate in nature, it has been confirmed to be bent time and again by several scientists through different memory models. Additionally, various within and outside factors also affect the accuracy of eyewitness identification (Nayak & Khajuria, 2019).

Eyewitness Error1

The legal system, inveterate to its culture of break down errors between adverse errors that warn the accuracy of verdicts and dangerous errors that do not has generally missed the potential of helpful errors. The present-day criminal justice system needs a custom for recognize and examine its unspectacular errors and a pattern for reporting their lessons.

When an eyewitness misidentification results in a wrong man conviction, an analysis of the event from an outlook similar to the wrong patient review would reveal an organizational accident, which is constructed out of a constellation of individual errors and inherent circumstances (Doyle, 2010).

Construction and Reconstruction of Eyewitness Memory

Scientist argues that in comparison with fiction, the investigative report create works with conference that call for proof drawn from the ancient world indexically, as it was seen and heard to occur rather than with figurative likenesses. The use of files, film and original amount would seem to adjust to these unspoken rules. While the above reforms to eyewitness description procedures will certainly help with the imperfection of cross-racial description, and eyewitness identifications in general, there are three extra amend that police agencies can implement to specifically help with the imperfection of cross racial description: first, create photo and live lineups with proper filling, second, reform procedures around combined outline, and third, use eyewitness description experts to train their officers about the problems of cross racial identifications. Much of the literature surrounding cross-racial description centers on the problems that witnesses have identifying suspects of another race. Perhaps equally ambiguous, still, are the issues that police officers have constructing live and photo lineups involving individuals of another race. Own-race bias administer equally to the people who are charged with assemble these lineups. Computer programs may soon be able to create lineups for officers from state or worldwide databases, and fillers could be pulled based on the characterization of the suspect such programs could remove human error or bias (Connelly, 2015).

Unconscious Transference

The eyewitness literature has recognized a particular form of inexactly in witnesses to crime commonly labelled unconscious transference that, in some cases, may result from errors in change detection. Basically, unconscious transference refers to the misidenti?cation of a blameless person who is familiar from a different context. Unconscious us transference is considered a create of source monitoring error, where the person inexactly remembers the source of exposure to another individual. There have been two primary illustrations of unconscious transference in the eyewitness literature: the ?rst showing misidenti?cation of persons who are common, because they were previously seen in mug shots, moderately than at the scene of the crime; and the second showing misidenti?cation of persons who were at the scene of the crime, but were not the criminal. The second of these situations is closer to the focus of the present research. We brie?y analysis actual theory and research regarding unconscious us transference as a cause of misidenti?cation of innocent eyewitness to crime, and then turn to the feasibility that unconscious transference may sometimes be a case of change blindness (Davis, Loftus, Vanous & Cucciare, 2008).

Witness Confidence

The confidence–accuracy relationship for eyewitness description has modern been analyzed by computing a point?biserial interaction synergetic between two levels of certainty as a absolute variable correct vs. incorrect and confidence on a scale (e.g., 0–100% or a Likert scale). Previous study shows widely varying confidence–accuracy interaction. Later study continued to find a wide range of interaction coefficients, such as .07, It is now understood that the confidence–accuracy relationship is much stronger for those who recognize someone from a lineup correctly or incorrectly, compared to those who reject the lineup. Interaction coefficients have been used to provide some support for the optimality theory, which suggests that the confidence–accuracy relationship should be powerful under more optimal encoding conditions, such as longer encoding times. In a meta?analysis of 35 studies observed a moderate, but not trustworthy effect of face exposure time on the confidence–accuracy relationship. They achieve that the optimality theory could be better judge by conducting studies that did not depend on the point?biserial interaction coefficient. Shortly thereafter found that increases in disclosure duration did increase the strength of the confidence–accuracy relationship, but this design was again shown with interaction coefficients. Second, and of broader importance, is the fact that confidence was again found to be a powerful sign of eyewitness accuracy (Carlson, Young, Weatherford, Carlson, Bednarz & Jones, 2016).

Improve Eyewitness Testimony

Scientist suggest that states who are considering adopting Henderson-style eyewitness instructions give pause as the current results suggest these instructions have little impact on jurors’ decisions. Overall, it appears that the Henderson Court overestimated the ability of these case-specific eyewitness instructions to assist jurors to better evaluate eyewitness evidence or to lessen the need for expert testimony. The finding that jurors adjusted their verdicts based on the quality of some system variables suggests they may not need any safeguards to help them better evaluate the quality of identification conditions as it concerns lineup instructions, identification procedure, and/or confirmatory feedback. However, we did not detect this same effect on verdict for estimator variables, suggesting jurors are not sensitive on their own to the quality of witnessing conditions—despite demonstrating high comprehension for such factors. Therefore, safeguards could provide some assistance to jurors to evaluate this type of eyewitness evidence. Unfortunately, none of the safeguards tested in this study was able to induce sensitivity to estimator variables (Jones, Bergold, Dillon & Penrod, 2017).

Blind lineup Administrators

Having not only one but several different double-blind administrators within a case would amplify these costs, making it unlikely that different double-blind administrators for each witness within a case would be used. However, the frequency with which subsequent witnesses are biased by lineup administrators is likely a very low base rate phenomenon, with several enabling conditions (i.e. the formation, communication, and detection of lineup administrators’ beliefs about initial witness identification accuracy) necessary for this type of mistaken identification to occur. Despite this, the implications of such an error at the individual case level are substantial, with the phenomenon leading to the false identification and potential conviction of innocent people. While an event’s low base rate obviously hinders experimental investigation, the use of Bayesian factors ameliorates this. Compared to conventional significance testing, Bayesian factors allow researchers to assess invariances and state positive evidence for the null hypothesis (i.e. no effect) rather than just no evidence of an effect, as afforded by the observed data (McCallum & Brewer, 2018).

Refreshing Memories of Eyewitnesses

Since the standard police interview, which is generally characterized by suggestion, closed questions and frequent interruptions, was found to compromise the quality of eyewitness reports, several methods of enhancing the accuracy of eyewitness testimonies have been explored over the past decades. These attempts mainly focus on the retrieval phase of the memory process and include substances such as sodium amytal as well as special interrogation methods. Unfortunately, the vast majority of these attempts have had limited success in terms of increasing either the quantity of memory, i.e. the amount of information recalled, or the quality of memory, i.e. the accuracy of the information recalled. Moreover, some interview techniques, including hypnosis and guided imagination, carry a substantial risk of creating false memories and are useless for the purpose of improving eyewitness memory. By contrast, the structured interview and the cognitive interview were found to have a small but significant effect on correct recall. Since the cognitive interview seems to be more effective than the structured interview which is based on what is generally considered good practice only the cognitive interview is discussed in more detail in the following section (Klaming & Vedder, 2009).The Cognitive Interview

The cognitive interview is based on the assumption that there are several retrieval paths to a certain memory; if a memory of a certain event is not accessible via one path it may be accessible via another. It aims at increasing the number of retrieval cues by instructing the witness to reinstate mental context, report everything, recall events in different orders, and change perspectives. Moreover, interviewers should transfer control to the witness and encourage him to use focused retrieval and imagery. The cognitive interview includes several cognitive techniques, for instance context reinstatement which refers to the mental reinstatement of the physical and personal contexts that existed at the time an event was perceived. This cognitive technique is based on the abovementioned encoding specificity principle, according to which a retrieval cue is effective if it was specifically encoded with the to-be-remembered information. Context reinstatement was found to be the most effective component of the cognitive interview in terms of increasing the amount of information recalled. Due to the implementation of various cognitive techniques that increase the amount of retrieval cues, it seems that the Cognitive interview is the most effective eyewitness memory enhancement technique available at present (Klaming & Vedder, 2009).

Suggestions and Recommendations for Eyewitness Identification Testimony

The guide covers and makes recommendations for all stages of a criminal investigation involving eyewitness evidence, starting with the emergency call from a witness/victim to a call-taker/dispatcher, preparing and using mug books and composites, instructing and interviewing witnesses, documenting the procedure, recording witness recollections, assessing the accuracy of individual elements of a witness statement, conducting show ups, composing lineups, instructing the witness prior to viewing a lineup, and conducting simultaneous and sequential lineups. Researcher proposed that the guidelines for the conduction of lineups and photo arrays be limited to only four recommendations: double-blind lineup testing, nonbiased instructions, the matching of fillers to the witness’s description, and the immediate assessment of confidence. In addition, recommended that videotapes be made of all lineup and witness identifications. Scientific psychological research on those factors that influence eyewitness testimony clearly has influenced policy-makers in the United States. It was suggested that, because of the importance of eyewitness evidence and the high risk of contaminating it, a police force other than the one conducting the investigation of the crime should conduct the interviews and the lineups with the eyewitnesses. Ideal as that procedure might be, I think that it would unduly complicate the investigation, add to its cost and increase the time required (Yarmey, 2003).


Carlson, C. A., Young, D. F., Weatherford, D. R., Carlson, M. A., Bednarz, J. E., & Jones, A. R. (2016). The influence of perpetrator exposure time and weapon Presence/Timing on eyewitness confidence and accuracy. Applied Cognitive Psychology, 30(6), 898-910. doi:10.1002/acp.3275

Connelly, L. (2015). cross-racial identifications: Solutions to the “they all look alike” effect. Michigan Journal of Race & Law, 21(1), 125-145.

Davis, D., Loftus, E. F., Vanous, S., & Cucciare, M. (2008). ‘Unconscious transference’ can be an instance of ‘change blindness’. Applied Cognitive Psychology, 22(5), 605-623. doi:10.1002/acp.1395

DOYLE, J. M. (2010). learning from error in American criminal justice. The Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology (1973-), 100(1), 109-148.

Jones, A. M., Bergold, A. N., Dillon, M. K., & Penrod, S. D. (2017). Comparing the effectiveness of Henderson instructions and expert testimony: Which safeguard improves jurors’ evaluations of eyewitness evidence? Journal of Experimental Criminology, 13(1), 29-52. doi:10.1007/s11292-016-9279-6

Jones, S. (2013). Memory on film: Testimony and constructions of authenticity in documentaries about the German democratic republic. European Journal of Cultural Studies, 16(2), 194-210. doi:10.1177/1367549412467180

Klaming, L., & Vedder, A. (2009). Brushing up our memories: Can we use neurotechnology’s to improve eyewitness memory? Law, Innovation and Technology, 1(2), 203-221. doi:10.1080/17579961.2009.11428371

McCallum, N. A., & Brewer, N. (2018). Can lineup administrators blind to the suspect’s identity influence witnesses’ decisions? Psychiatry, Psychology and Law, 25(1), 93-105. doi:10.1080/13218719.2017.1347937

Nayak, B. P., & Khajuria, H. (2019). Eyewitness testimony: Probative value in criminal justice system. Egyptian Journal of Forensic Sciences, 9(1), 1-2. doi:10.1186/s41935-018-0109-z

Yarmey, A. D. (2003). Eyewitness identification: Guidelines and recommendations for identification procedures in the united states and in Canada. Canadian Psychology/Psychologies Canadienne, 44(3), 181-189. doi:10.1037

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CJUS 640 Research Paper 1
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