Why Is Eyewitness Identification Reliable

1501 Words7 Pages
Many individuals have been wrongly convicted over the years due to misidentifications. However, eyewitness identifications are considered some of the most powerful evidence against a suspect (California Innocence). So, how can something so vital bring an end to someone’s life. According to California Innocence Project, there are multiple reasons to why eyewitness identification are not always reliable. Some of these include: high stress environments and trauma, human memory, weapons focus, and suggestive identification. First, in a high-stress situation, an individual is not truly observing everything around them, especially if it is a traumatic incident such as murder, rape, or an assault. An automatic response for many individuals would be…show more content…
First, the investigators or detectives need to be cautious when working with the eye-witness. Before bringing the witness to present the line-up, they need to be “instructed that the culprit may or may not be included in the lineup, and that she/he should not feel compelled to make an identification” right off the bat. This removes some of the pressure on the witness to give a more accurate decision. Second, effective use of fillers. During a line-up only one suspect should be presented with the additional fillers and should not stand out. The extra fillers should also resemble the description of the suspect as well. This, in return, helps ensure the reliability of the witness’s choice and prevent innocent people from going to prison. Third, everything should be correctly and carefully documented including photos, recordings, the witness’s statement, and when an identification is made. If everything is documented correctly, this helps the jury weigh the evidence properly. Fourth, like previously mentioned before, double-blind administration needs to ensure that the officer or detective who directs the lineup does not know the suspect, preventing the officials from giving subtle clues to the witness. Lastly, sequential presentation entails that the when presenting the lineup to the witness the members should be presented one at a time, rather than all at once. This reduces the witness’s tendency to engage in “comparison shopping.” Just by implementing a few of these recommendations, officials could reduce the possibility of a wrongful conviction and have a more accurate

More about Why Is Eyewitness Identification Reliable

Open Document