rsbecker's blog

Eyewitness Identification (part II) -- 60 Minutes

(CBS) Now that DNA has exonerated more than 230 men in mostly sex crimes and murder cases, criminologists have been able to go back and study what went wrong in those investigations.

What they've honed in on is faulty eyewitness testimony: over 75 percent of these innocent men were convicted in part because an eyewitness fingered the wrong person.

At the heart of the problem is the fragility of memory. As one researcher told 60 Minutes, we now know that memory is not like a videotape recorder - you don't just record an event and play it back.

Eyewitness Identification (part 1) -- 60 Minutes

(CBS) It's a cliché of courtroom dramas - that moment when the witness is asked "Do you see the person who committed the crime here in this courtroom before you?" It happens in real courtrooms all the time, and to jurors, that point of the finger by a confident eyewitness is about as damning as evidence can get.

But there is one type of evidence that's even more persuasive: DNA. There have been 233 people exonerated by DNA in this country, and now a stunning pattern has emerged: more than three quarters of them were sent to prison at least in part because an eyewitness pointed a finger - an eyewitness we now know was wrong.

Why this Web site?

I have had a Web site for several years for my law practice. It included some of the content you will find here, such as briefs in appeals I have done and opinions in those cases.

That site was a small window into my practice for my clients, potential clients and the general public. I hope it provided some useful information for lawyers who practice criminal law and media law and for researchers.

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