Since the discovery of DNA profiling in the mid 1980’s, there have been over 300 criminal exonerations in the USA alone. That’s over 300 innocent people imprisoned for a crime they did not commit. Studies in the USA have also shown that approximately 73% of these convictions incorporated eyewitness testimony as the primary piece of evidence in their respective cases. Continue reading
In 1984, Maryland USA, Kirk Bloodsworth was given the death penalty. His conviction was based solely on 5 eye-witnesses who all claimed to have seen him commit a horrific crime. After 9 years on death row, he was exonerated by DNA evidence. He was innocent. Continue reading
In this talk forensic neurophysiologist Scott Fraser discusses the unreliability of eyewitness testimony. He explains that we only encode and store bits and pieces of information, and that the brain fills in the gaps with data that was not originally collected. Fraser states that all our memories are reconstructions, and are influenced by inference, speculation and information gained after the observation.
- Eyewitness Testimony is Largely Bologna and This is Why (tralawlaw.wordpress.com)
- Making Suspect Sketches Less Sketchy With DNA (fastcoexist.com)
Forensic psychology is the branch of psychology that interacts with the law. Forensic psychologists are required to have a thorough understanding of the country’s judicial system and criminal law, in order to be seen as credible witnesses and to foster appropriate and effective communication with lawyers, judges and other courtroom personnel. They are often called upon to convey psychological findings in a manner which facilitates easy comprehension in a courtroom setting. Continue reading