EQUALS = WRONGLY CONVICTED
Flawed? Recently, the 2 brothers featured here, were released from a life sentence after serving 24 years in prison. Mistaken identity, wrongly ID’d by a witness from a third story window – 150 feet away, plus the testimony of a 13-year boy, sent these 2 men to prison-for life. Imagine, just a mere boy, who later recanted his statement at trial under pressure he would be charged with murder (witness intimidation), yet he had enough final sway to get these 2 men convicted!
The saga is one repeated many times, with many wrongful convictions, yet the DA’s, attorneys and courts allow these witnesses to throw their right hand in the air and swear to what they (perceived) saw. Although, one would think an eyewitness would be credible. However, remember watching the old TV shows with the proverbial lineup of suspects when the eyewitness stands behind the one-way glass and fingers the guilty person? This may be just the reason eyewitness testimonies prevail – our recall of films that present good vs. evil. Moreover, juries still believe in the validity of an eyewitness.
Wrong theory! Here’s the argument against eyewitnesses based on real psychological studies. BTW, watch the last video presented, take the test – you will be surprised at the conclusions. Here’s the shortcut to the argument summed up in one word: prejudice. No, it’s not racial. in that sense of the word.
The term, states Saul McLeod, who writes about eyewitness testimony “is ‘schemas’ or mental units established in one’s own mind that details events to ‘fit in’ with our existing knowledge…” that can and will cloud testimony. Further, he states “schemas are capable of distorting unfamiliar or unconsciously acceptable information,” or prejudice.
So, why do the courts, DA’s and attorneys rely on eyewitness testimony?
Could it be that a conviction must be levied – despite real evidence, or lack of real evidence. Is justice that skewed, and those who cannot defend themselves adequately, fall prey to injustices? To date in Baltimore alone, according to the Mid-Atlantic Innocence Project, 30 innocent men have been released and exonerated “who served a combined 545 years in prison for crimes they did not commit.” That’s an eye opener!