I'd bet many of you think you have a great memory -- that you can relate your observations clearly and accurately. But you're wrong, too. Don't feel bad about this! We are all imperfect when it comes to observing and remembering.
Nothing is more compelling than an eyewitness who says in court, "that's him" and points at the defendant. But a growing body of evidence now shows the unreliability of eyewitness testimony -- and the horrendously wrong jury verdicts that eyewitnesses produce.
In Illinois restitution isn't assured unless a freed prisoner first proves his innocence. That's right. Even if the charges have been dropped, he must convince the county's presiding judge that he didn't do the crime.
Behind each wrongful conviction lie broken lives and shattered dreams. Each one represents a serious and substantial failure of law enforcement: the wrong person locked up; the actual perpetrator at large.
It's hard to escape the notion that the most salient difference between the cases is that Crowe is a White man and Davis is Black. And study after study of capital trials across jurisdictions --including Georgia -- have demonstrated that race matters when it comes to the death penalty.
Experts say human memory is malleable and that eyewitnesses' recollections should be treated with the delicacy of any other crime scene evidence. That doesn't always happen. Here, a resource guide for covering misidentifications and wrongful convictions in your jurisdiction.
Eyewitnesses make mistakes, sometimes tragic mistakes. Courts should acknowledge that uncorroborated eyewitness testimony is inherently untrustworthy, and undermines confidence in the integrity of the justice system.