Friday, September 2, 2011

New York Times Debates Eyewitness Identification

The New York Times has a regular feature "Room For Debate."  Outside contributors weigh on various sides of an issue.  This weeks topic is eyewitness identification.

The Times introduction begins with, "If only our memories were as accurate as they feel. A crime victim might stand behind the one-way mirror and, with total confidence, point to a suspect in a lineup. But total confidence is not the same thing as being right."

There are four perspectives offered--four professors, a prosecutor and victims advocate.  One of the contributors, Amy Bradfield Douglass, an associate professor of psychology at Bates College, said judicial interventions "do nothing to prevent mistaken identifications, only mistaken convictions."  Bates is suggesting that science be used to prevent even the arrest of an innocent person.  This amps up the eyewitness identication debate.

To read more:

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