Eyewitness testimony is a legal term.It refers to an account given by people of an event they have seen in order to identify the perpetrator.Juries pay close attention to eyewitness testimony.Eyewitness testimony can be affected by several factors.Imagine you are walking down the street and suddenly two people appear in front of you and steal your bag.This happens so quick. Do you believe that you can identify the two people involved? What were they wearing? Were they holding a gun or a knife? If you say yes then it explains why a lot of people over estimate their ability to remember things.When things happen quickly you might be paying more attention to other things that the face of a person.The first step is for a witness to identify the perpetrator at police lineup.Experts suggest that lineup administrators might purposely give the witness verbal or non verbal clues as to the identity of the suspect.Some of the things which affect eyewitness testimony are:
Reconstruction of memories
Psychologists have found out that memories are reconstructed rather than played back each time we recall them. Lawyers can also alter memories of the witness by the way they question the witness.
Error Prone ID
Extreme witness stress at the time of the crime scene can affect the testimony.Presence of a weapon at the crime can distract the witness to focus on the face of the perpetrator
The need to reform the credibility of eyewitness testimony can be seen by the rise of the Innocence Project which focus on exonerating the wrongly convicted and they push for reforms in the criminal justice system to prevent future injustice.It is important that the criminal justice system put in place reforms to increase the reliability and accuracy of eyewitness testimony.