Wrongful Convictions And Dna Literature Review


Eye Witness Memory and Identification In the contemporary legal environment, an eyewitness plays a critical role in the legal system. A correct eyewitness identification has helped in advancing an investigation, and can be used to solve a complex case. Despite the importance of eyewitness identification in a legal system, eyewitness misidentification is being identified as the contributing factor to wrongful convictions based on the DNA testing. Typically, the eyewitness misidentification leads to 70% of wrongful convictions based on the DNA evidence in the United States. In cases after cases, it has been proven by the DNA that eyewitnesses are mostly inaccurate. For example, a review of 311 cases reveals that 73% of the convictions have been due to the eyewitness errors leading to wrongful convictions. Evidence have also revealed that eyewitness identifications can sway strong alibis, juries and police. Unfortunately, the memory of some eyewitnesses is either unable to recall events, or cannot recollect events accurately. One of the major factors affecting eyewitness identification is the eyewitness age. For example, the ability of young children and older adults identifying a suspect correctly is challenging. Moreover, alcohol and drug intoxicating level of an eye witness can impair a correct identification....


For example, the high or moderate level of alcohol intoxication is associated with a false identification. Some eyewitnesses who attempt to identify another race often show bias towards other ethnic groups often leads to incorrect eyewitness identifications. The length of the distance from the incident also affects a correct identification. Moreover, penetrators appearance at the time of incident affects a correct identification because some penetrators often disguise their faces during the incidents.
The objective of this study is to explore the Eye Witness Memory and Identification.

2. Literature Review

Hope, & Sauer, (2014) suggest that eyewitness misidentification is the critical factor that leads to a wrong conviction. The authors arrive at the conclusion by using the DNA evidence of 311 cases, and the results reveal that over 75% of the eyewitnesses of the cases are disputed or inaccurate. These misidentifications often lead to a wrongful conviction because the investigators and jurors fail to take note of likelihood of eyewitness errors. The authors recommend different strategies of preventing wrongful conviction. First, it is very critical for the criminal justice not to rely entirely on the evidence of the eyewitness before convicting a suspect because the DNA evidence has revealed that 75% of eyewitness identification have led to wrongful convictions. (Green, 2013). It is very critical for jurors to consider other evidence in a combination of eyewitness identification before convicting a suspect. In the case where there is no alternative evidence to use in the courtroom, the jurors and investigators must consider the witness age and memory retention before considering…

Sources Used in Documents:


Arkowitz, H. & Lilienfeld, S.O. (2010). Why Science Tells Us Not to Rely on Eyewitness Accounts. Scientific America Mind.

Green, M. (2013). Eye Witness Memory is Unreliable. Visual Expert.

Hope, L., & Sauer, J.D. (2014). Eyewitness memory and mistaken identifications In book: Investigative Interviewing: The Essentials, Carswell: M. St.-Yves.

Malpass, R.S. & Topp, L.D. (2005) Eye Witness Memory and Identification. The Defender

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