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Social psychology Criminal Justice Systems - Essay Example

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Evidence based on eyewitness is crucial in any trial and hence it is imperative that it be reliable. The demonstration provided by an observer provides fundamental evidence that may establish whether or not a particular defendant will be or is convicted. The courts attaches a high regard to the eyewitness testimony, but there is much empirical support to propose that the eyewitness testimony might be somewhat unreliable and that the faith which the courts have placed in it is not justified…
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Social psychology Criminal Justice Systems
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Download file to see previous pages This implies that for the errands of moderate complication e.g. EWT, performances augments with stress till an optimal point is attained where it begins to decline (Bell & Jones, 1994).
According to Bartlett theory, recall/memory is subject to individual interpretation dependent on our cultural or learnt norms plus values i.e. the manner in which individuals make sense of world in which we live (Loftus, 1996).
This is the concentration by an eyewitness on the weapon in particular to the omission of additional details of an offence. Where a weapon is involved in a crime, it is common for the witness to correctly describe a weapon in detail rather than the individual holding it (Ross, Read & Toglia, 1994).
Cases which have eyewitness testimony have a higher probability of producing convictions (Visher, 1987). Jurors are doubtful of the eyewitnesses with low memory regarding details whereas they might be more accurate owing to the fact that they were concentrating on the face of the culprit instead (Wells & Leippe, 1988). Mutually, incorrect and correct eyewitnesses are trusted eighty percent of the time (Wells et al., 1979). All these shows the influence attached to persuasive eyewitness.
According to Stambor (2006), "of the...
78% were wrongful convictions based on eyewitness misidentification." Eyewitnesses tend to be more confident as opposed to being accurate and this influences jurors who in turn trust them. This shows that eyes can be deceiving.
Strong emotions, expectations, current knowledge and beliefs affect memories. Evocative questioning incorporates deceptive information into the memory. It is not possible to distinguish real memories from the force memories. All these can be attributed to misinformation effect.
The error can be reduced by (1) training the police interviewers. Research has shown that cognitive interview after spontaneous recollections augments information by fifty percent without raising the fake memory rate. (2) Reducing fake lineup identifications. This can be achieved by eliminating composites and arrays, paying attention to the identification time, using sequential lineup, prohibiting post-identification feedback, using blind testing processes with neutral and scripted questions and reminding a witness of the fact that the suspect might not be included in the lineup. (3) Educating the jurors.
What other factors influence juror judgments
Defendant's characteristics
The characteristics of the defendant are in terms of resemblance to the juror (e.g. same language, political beliefs and expectations of conventional conduct), and the physical attractiveness. Despite the fact that juror do not disregard the "facts" of a particular case whilst deliberating, in case the evidence turns out to be lacking or ambiguous, there is a high probability for them to allow personality character of the defendant to persuade their decisions. According to research on influence of similarities of a defendant to a jury by Mazzella and Feingold (1994), "Mock-jurors punished white ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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