Eyewitness testimony is a powerful form of evidence in a criminal trial. In Texas, it can be used to convict or acquit someone or influence the development of an entire case.
How eyewitness testimony is used in the courtroom
When it comes to eyewitness testimony, presentation in the courtroom can make all the difference. A recent study showed that jurors were more likely to convict when an eyewitness was confident of their identification and when the identification was made in a lineup. However, jurors were more likely to acquit when an eyewitness was unsure of their identification or made their identification from a photo array.
The problems with eyewitness testimony
It is estimated that eyewitness testimony contributes to about 75% of all wrongful convictions in the United States. There are several reasons why this happens. One reason is that people who witness a crime often don’t get a good look at the perpetrator. In addition, studies have shown that people’s memories of an event are often inaccurate, and they can be easily influenced by what they hear and see after the event.
Another problem with eyewitness testimony is that it is often presented in a way that makes it seem more reliable than it is. For example, when a witness is asked to identify a suspect in a lineup, the police could give the witness verbal and nonverbal cues leading to false identifications.
Finally, research has shown that people tend to remember information that confirms their preexisting beliefs and biases. So, in developing a criminal defense, it is important to know that if a witness has a bias against someone who they think committed the crime, they may remember things differently than if they didn’t have that bias.
Presentation of eyewitness testimony matters
The presentation of eyewitness testimony in a court of law can profoundly affect people’s perceptions, beliefs, and decisions. It’s important to know the psychological factors that influence these accounts to ensure that juries receive accurate information regarding the case. Furthermore, whether or not justice will be served depends largely upon these presentations being done properly, as faulty evidence could lead to the wrong person being convicted for a crime they did not commit.