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Forensic Science vs. Eyewitness Testimony

Forensic science is the application of a broad spectrum of sciences and technologies to investigate situations after the fact. Eyewitness testimony is a legal term which refers to an account given by people of an event they have witnessed.

Ifra Khan

on 26 November 2014

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Transcript of Forensic Science vs. Eyewitness Testimony

Forensic Science vs. Eyewitness Testimony
What did you wear yesterday?

What did you have for dinner last night? The night before?

What is was the last movie you watched? The last book you read?

What were they about?

Who was the last person you spoke to over the phone?

What font colour was the title of this presentation written in?
Eyewitness Testimony
Eyewitness testimony is a legal term which refers to an account given by people of an event they have witnessed.
Usually this recollection is detailed but that is not always the case.
Memory recall has been considered a credible source in the past, but since recently it has been under assessment.
The reliability of eyewitness testimony has been questioned by psychologists since the beginning of the 20th century.
Years of strong social science research has proven that eyewitness identification is, more often than not, unreliable
Due to this, many countries are now attempting to make changes in how eyewitness testimony is presented in court.
The Innocence Project reports eyewitness misidentification occurs in approximately 75% of convictions that are overturned.
Forensic Science
Forensic science is the application of a broad spectrum of sciences and technologies to investigate situations after the fact and to establish what occurred based on collected evidence.
Forensics are also carried out in other fields, such as astronomy, archaeology, biology and geology to investigate ancient times.
Since the late 1980s, DNA analysis has helped identify the guilty and exonerate the innocent nationwide.
Other forensic techniques include, hair microscopy, bite mark comparisons, firearm tool mark analysis, DNA fingerprinting, shoe print comparisons, and serology, also known as blood typing.
Case 1: Norman Fox
Convicted in 1976 for rape, burglary and assault.
Cause: Mistaken eyewitness identification by the victim.
He spent eight years and six months in jail for a crime he did not commit.
He was pardoned in 1984, on the recommendation of the Department of Justice, after evidence came to light that his conviction had been based on mistaken identity.
Was awarded a compensation of $275,000.
Case 2: David Milgaard
Convicted at the age of 17, in 1970 for the murder and rape of nursing assistant Gail Miller.
Cause: False eyewitness testimonies by the people who were suppose to be his alibi's.
Milgaard was conclusively absolved of Miller's death when DNA tests established his innocence.
He was released after spending 23 years in prison.
Received $500,000, give or take.
Case 3: Gregory Parsons
Gregory Parsons was convicted in 1994 of the first-degree murder of his mother, Catherine Carroll.
His trial had lasted for five years.
The conviction rested solely on the hearsay evidence of witnesses who testified that Ms. Carroll was afraid of her son.
In 1998 DNA proved Gregory Parsons innocent.
He spent a total of 68 days in jail.
Was rewarded a compensation of $650,000.
Are you a good eyewitness?
A man went into the shop up the road.
How was he dressed?
a) Dark clothes
b) Light clothes
c) Jeans
d) None of the above
a) Dark clothes
A woman parked her car in the street shortly before the crime took place.
What colour was it?
a) Green
b) Red
c) Silver
d) Black

b) Red
What colour hair did the woman have?
a) Blonde hair
b) Dark hair
c) Red hair
a) Blonde
He is not here.
Can you identify the first man you saw run out of the shop?
What do you think?
In your opinion, which is better, forensic evidence or eyewitness testimony? Why?
Where did the crime take place?
a) Restaurant
b) Coffee Shop
c) Real Estate Agency
d) Bank
c) Real Estate Agency
Full transcript