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Eyewitness Testimony

DNA exoneration is only possible in a fraction of cases, mostly sexual assault cases. Crimes such as murders, muggings and robberies rarely leave DNA trace evidence, so it is not possible to use this type of evidence in these crimes to question the reliability of witness evidence (Wells et al., 2000). A large part of what we know about eyewitness identification comes from empirical research on the factors influencing eyewitness performance.

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Eyewitness Testimony

These tests have resulted in the exoneration of people innocent of the crime for which they were convicted. Wells et al. (1998) described the first 40 cases in the USA in which DNA was found to exonerate a previously convicted person (five of these persons were sentenced to death). Of these 40 ca...

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Eyewitness Testimony

Despite its persuasiveness and potential power, eyewitness testimony can be inaccurate. In 1976, the British government’s Devlin Report tried to explain why honest eyewitnesses can be mistaken (Clifford & Bull, 1978). More recently, the introduction of DNA testing procedures has shed further ligh...

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Eyewitness Testimony

In a more recent analysis, Scheck, Neufield and Dwyer (2000) described 62 exoneration cases (eight persons were sentenced to death). In 52 of these 62 cases, mistaken identification occurred, involving, in total, 77 mistaken eyewitnesses. These findings led Wells et al. (1998: p. 605) to conclude...

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