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How Can Courts Trust Eyewitnesses?

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groovedaddy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-01-11 11:01 AM
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How Can Courts Trust Eyewitnesses?
If only our memories were as accurate as they feel. A crime victim might stand behind the one-way mirror and, with total confidence, point to a suspect in a lineup. But total confidence is not the same thing as being right. Indeed, DNA exonerations have shown time and again that a reliance on eyewitness identifications can send innocent people to prison, or death row.

The Supreme Court of New Jersey issued a ruling last week telling judges to proceed with caution when a case hinges on a witnesss memory. An editorial in The New York Times on Saturday proposes that New Jersey's approach could be a model for other states and courts.

Given that jurors tend to think of memory as more dependable than it is, how can courts use eyewitness testimony and lineup IDs without overemphasizing their reliability?
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red dog 1 Donating Member (307 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-18-11 07:53 PM
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1. Troy Davis was convicted solely on eyewitness testimony!
On September 21, almost one month ago, Troy Davis was executed for a murder he did not commit.
His trial and conviction was based solely on the testimony of nine eyewitnesses, seven of whom subsequently recanted their testimony.
Then, ten witnesses came forward to say that the real killer was Sylvester Coles, one of the "eyewitnesses" who testified against Troy Davis.
The police framed Troy Davis; and the Georgia Board of Paroles refused to even allow him to take a lie detector test, or grant him a new trial.
The U.S. Supreme Court could have halted the execution, but didn't.
How many innocent people will have to die before eyewitness testimony alone won't be enough to convict in capital murder cases?
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