The use of eyewitness testimony during a criminal trial continues to be an important real-world application of research in psychological science. This research, in combination with other advancements in science, have led to the development of organizations working to free wrongfully convicted and imprisoned individuals in the United States. In many instances, the wrongful convictions were dependent upon faulty or erroneous eyewitness testimony.
The Innocence Project is one such organization seeking to fulfill this mission. Visit their website at https://www.innocenceproject.org/about/
Take some time and read their list of successful cases where they assisted in freeing wrongfully convicted individuals from prison. Find one that may have relied on faulty eyewitness testimony to secure the wrongful conviction. You can also venture outside of the Innocence Project and find a different example of an individual freed from prison after discovering that their original conviction was based on faulty eyewitness testimony.
Share the following information with the class by replying to this discussion:
1) Name of person wrongfully convicted
2) Crime wrongfully convicted of
3) Amount of time spent in prison before being released
4) Provide a brief overview of how the original conviction relied on faulty eyewitness testimony
5) Do you think the results of decades of research on memory, and more recent applications to eyewitness testimony, could have prevented this wrongful conviction? How?
6) If you are called to serve as a juror in a legal trial where the prosecuting attorney’s case is dependent upon eyewitness testimony, how will you use what you have read in Module 3 to help you evaluate the accuracy and reliability of the eyewitness’s testimony?
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