Eyewitness Testimony


Criminal justice applies a varied set of methods to ensure thepresentation of concrete information for court proceedings. Witnesstestimony is one of the methods that prosecutors have been relying onto convince the jury and the judge that the person presented in thecourt of law is the actual person caught committing an atrocity.Therefore, most of the cases involving crimes like break-ins, robberywith violence, selling drugs among others have a list of eyewitnesseslined up to testify. It involves the individuals who were presentwhen the crime was committed, and they give an account of what theysaw and the court admits their narratives from their point of view.

The evidence presented by eyewitnesses is important in criminaljustice in several ways. First, it is important in the investigationprocess before the getting the right suspect to arraign in court.Most of the crimes happen in the absence of law enforcers, and thecriminals make away without getting caught on the spot. Thedescription given by the eyewitnesses enable investigators to narrowdown their searches to a few individuals. Secondly, eyewitness backsup the evidence presented to a court to win a case.

However, eye witness has been under attack from some forensicscientist due to the increased cases of victim misidentifications. Itis one of the greatest contributors to wrongful convictions. DNAtesting done by forensic experts shows that 70% of the suspectshanded in as identified by eyewitnesses turn out to bemisidentifications. For this reason, criminologists and investigatorshave come up with counter mechanisms to minimize the cases ofmisidentification they include the revised rules regarding thethreshold of the observations made by an eye-witness to be admittedas credible evidence.


Tier One

-Topic chosen

-Key terms in the topic

-The history of the practice

-The current Strategies in the practice

-Pending advancements

-Recommended practices

-Justification for implementing the new practice

-Logistics in the advancements of the new practice

-Anticipated impact of the new practice

-Constitutional amendments

-Exclusion of admissible and inadmissible evidence given byeyewitnesses

Tier two

Topic: Witness testimony

Key terms: Eyewitness testimony, standard interview, cognitiveinterview, misleading information, anxiety, reverse order.

-In the beginning of the 20th-century criminal psychologist startedto question the reliability of the eyewitness since it acted as theprimary source of evidence in court. Forensic experts found greatvariation between their evidence and the one admitted by jurors. Theincreased number of wrongfully convicted people instigated a seriesof reactions challenging eyewitness presentation in courts.

-Currently, courts are in the process of adopting the new guidelinesadopted by the Supreme Court of New Jersey. The outgoing practice didnot have restrictions on the jury about admitting the observationsmade by a witness during a crime. The result has been more than 70%of misidentification corrected by the evidence provide the forensicdepartment.

-Criminologists have developed current strategies including judge andjury reforms. The jury now has the responsibility to assess theadmissibility of observation witness by checking on inherence of theobservation, the time that elapsed before a witness gave informationon the observation and the clarity of the observation. The judgeguidelines as created by the New Jersey supreme court requires themto explain to the jurors the influences that would make the eyewitnesses account inadmissible.

-There are opening advances on developing a standard method that thejurors cause as they listen to the eyewitnesses evidence to avoidadmitting misidentifications.

-The recommended practice as per the New Jersey Supreme Courtrequirement is to have a well-informed jury that does not fall victimof the unclear observations from witness convictions that arequestionable

-The justification for guiding the jury on assessing witnessobservation is that more than 70% of the suspects identified byeyewitnesses were found to be innocent by forensic experts.

-The logistical costs of the new practice involve the revision of theeye witness provision adopted 34 years ago and make it operational inthe all the courts in the country. The judge has to dedicate extratime with the jury before bringing witnesses before them to ensurethat they abide by the new laws.

-The anticipated impacts include relatively similar evidence admittedby the jury and the evidence given by forensic experts. The number ofwrongful convictions will significantly reduce, and it will giveinvestigators a task of presenting concrete evidence.

-The guidelines provided by the New Jersey Supreme Court oneyewitness are being adopted across the country, and it is going tochange the admissibility of eyewitness evidence in courts. Thestatement changed the provisions for eyewitness adopted in thecountry 34 years ago.

-The guidelines provide for the admissibility and inadmissibility ofthe evidence given in court by eye witnesses. For the observationsto be admissible, the witnesses should have been located in a clearspot for observation. Also, delayed reported observations arequestionable based on the ability to remember most of the detailswithout erring. The observation should also be inherently possible toa human being. Any inner contradictions in the observation may renderthe observation inadmissible.


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