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Word Count: 791
The Reliability of Eyewitness Testimony Eyewitness testimony has been used frequently over time in various situations It sometimes holds more merit then some facts or evidence Yet it is also the reason why many innocent people go to jail and criminals still walk free Eyewitness testimony has been used for over 100 years It has played a major part in convicting criminals from the common thief to the most dangerous murderer However even with a long incubation time like that it wasnt really recognized until the 1970s With plenty of unsolved crimes and not enough evidence eyewitness testimony was all that was needed Now with psychologist holding scientific studies to see if it is really reliable the legal jurisdiction try to pay more attention to the specific details Through many studies it has been shown how the accuracy of the reports given can be altered by the ethnicity of the person and their current emotional state It is believed that if a weapon is used in the crime that is witnessed then the eyewitness might become aroused impairing their judgment Wagstaff Macveigh Boston Scott Brunas-Wagstaff Cole 2003 METHOD Wagstaff et conducted a test study with 70 witnesses 62 women 11 men to see how accurate they could remember what the person looked like and what kind of weapon that was used The witnesses were asked to write down what the person looked like Kebbel Wagstaff Covey also did a study where they tested 51 people 37 women 14 males They had the group watch a tape then answer questions ranging from easy to med in the first set and in the next set from easy to hard Lindholm Christianson 1998 feel that emotion and group status play a part in the eyewitness testimony They believe that one ethnic group will accept plus feel more comfortable that someone outside of their ethnic group committed a crime and pick them out of a line up
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