Psychology_ Law and Eyewitness Testimony Psychology and Law

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					Psychology, Law and
                                            Psychology and Law
Eyewitness Testimony
                                            Media portrayals of criminal profilers/crackers,
                                            violent offenders and criminal trials
                                            Psychology & Law & Forensic Psychology
                    Prof Amina Memon
                                            From laboratory to courtroom
                                            Psychological research inspired by real cases
                   University of Aberdeen
                                            Changes in the Law –e.g. Video Identification,
                                            Vulnerable Witness (Scotland) Bill

                                             What can experimental psychology
Psychology and Law                          offer the courts?

 Clinical- Forensic Psychology:              Quality of evidence will vary with:
 Assessment, prediction of future
 dangerousness, treatment and                  Witness/suspect characteristics (including
 rehabilitation of offenders.                    beliefs).

 Experimental- cognitive, social,              Characteristics of the witnessing situation
 developmental, individual
 differences                                   Retrieval context

Growth in the field
Specialist journals and texts
  Law and Human Behavior (USA)
                                                 How long have we been
  Psychology, Public Policy and Law                     going?
                                                          A quick history….
  Legal and Criminological Psychology
  Criminal Justice and Behaviour

    Bringing Psychology to the
                                                                Binet (1900) suggestibility in
  Hugo Munsterberg (1908) text On the Witness                   Three types of questions about objects
  Stand tried 100 years ago!                                    stuck on a box- specific non-leading,
                                                                leading, false suggestions
 His colleagues failed to support him-                          (interrogative)
 applied psychology was not fashionable then.
                                                                 Errors increased with interrogative
 It was only 70 years later, that psychologists                  pressure
 entered the arena to give expert testimony on
 eyewitness issues
                                                                 75 years later, Loftus (1975) confirmed
                                                                 Binet’s findings.

                                                             Eyewitness evidence and decision making

                                                             Decision to report a crime
                                                             by a victim or witness

                                                               Decision by police to
                                                               investigate a crime

                                                               Decision to
                                                               prosecute offender

                                                                 The presentation of
                                                                 evidence in court

                                                                Judicial and jury
                                                                decision making

Eyewitness evidence and decision making

Decision to report a crime   Witness characteristics,
by a victim or witness       Witnessing conditions
Decision by police to        Questioning of witnesses
investigate a crime          and identification evidence
                                                                Mistaken identification is a
Decision to                  Confidence, consistency            significant source of wrongful
prosecute                    of statement
The presentation of          All of the above
evidence in court

Judicial and jury            Instructions, lay beliefs and
decision making              attributions

                                                                         Figure 1. The most common factors leading to wrongful convictions
                                                                                          from the first 70 exonerations
                                                              DNA inclusions at trial 2

     The introduction of DNA testing                        Other forensic inclusions 6

                                                                   False confessions 15
     procedures have shed further light
                                                               Informants / snitches 16
     on this the problems associated with                   False witness testimony 17
     evidence based on eyewitness                          M icroscop ic hair matches 21
     memory.                                                          Bad lawyering 23

                                                                   Defective science 26
     DNA analysis has been conducted on                    Prosecutorial misconduct 34
     people who were convicted prior to                           Police misconduct 38

     the introduction of forensic DNA                             Serology inclusion 40

     analysis in the 1990s.                                            M istaken ID 61

                                                                                           0   10     20      30        40      50       60   70
                                                                                                             Number of cases

DNA exoneration cases,                        The innocence Project

                                                           Case Profiles
                                                                220 exonerations to date

                                                                Seventeen people had been sentenced to death before DNA
                                                                proved their innocence and led to their release.

                                                                The average sentence served by DNA exonerees has been 12

                                                                About 70 percent of those exonerated by DNA testing are
                                                                members of minority groups.

                                                                In almost 40 percent of the cases profiled here, the actual
                                                                perpetrator has been identified by DNA testing.

                                                                Exonerations have been won in 32 states and Washington, D.C.

                Incident Date: 11/14/94

                Jurisdiction: IL
                                                           Dean Cage
                Charge: Criminal Sexual Assault

                Conviction: Criminal Sexual Assault             A 15 year old girl was sexually assaulted.
                Sentence: 40 Years
                                                                The victim gave a visual description of her attacker to police, as
Dean Cage       Year of Conviction: 1996                        African-American man between 25 and 30 years old, about six
                                                                feet tall, with a beard. The next day she helped officers create a
                Exoneration Date: 5/27/08                       sketch of the perpetrator.

                Sentence Served: 11.5 Years                     The drawing was circulated in the community, a week later
                                                                police received a tip that a man matching the sketch worked at
                Real perpetrator found? Not Yet                 a local meat market.

                Contributing Causes: Eyewitness                 Police took the victim to the market, where she was asked if the
                   Misidentification, Unreliable/Limited        perpetrator was among the employees. She identified Dean
                   Science                                      Cage as the attacker. Officers then conducted another lineup at
                                                                the police station, where the victim identified Cage by the sound
                Compensation? Not Yet                           of his voice.

                                                           Ronald Cotton N. Carolina
Dean Cage
                                                            Convicted to life for 2 counts of rape
 He was released on May 27, 2008, after serving             Eyewitness evidence, only one of the victims
 nearly 12 years in prison – and two years in jail – for    identified Cotton from photo-lineup (1984)
 a crime he didn’t commit. A The victim testified that
 she was 100% sure Dean Cage was the perpetrator,           1987- re-trial- the second victim decided
 pointing at him in court and saying, "He raped me.”        Cotton was assailant
                                                            Confession by another man in prison not
 Cage testified that he did not commit this crime and
 was with his fiancé at the time of the crime.              admitted.
                                                            Exonerated by DNA evidence in 1995 after
 He was released on May 27, 2008, after serving             serving 10.5 yrs
 nearly 12 years in prison – and two years in jail – for
 a crime he didn’t commit.

2005 DNA Exonerations                                      2005 Exonerations
 Thomas Doswell was released in August 2005                  The analysis of serum samples from a
 after serving 19 years in prison.                           rape kit were inconclusive so the jury
 In 1986, a white woman was raped by an                      who convicted Doswell relied heavily on
 African American male as she entered the                    the eyewitness identification from a
 hospital where she worked. The victim was
                                                             faulty lineup (see Lecture 3).
 shown a lineup of photographs the day after
 the attack. Doswell’s was the only photo in                 Also in August 2005, Luis Diaz was
 the lineup that was marked with an ‘R’ (to                  exonerated after serving 25 years for
 indicate he had a previous rape charge)                     the ‘Bird Road’ rapes.

2005 Exonerations                                          2005 Exonerations
 Over 25 women were attacked in                              At the time, Diaz weighed 134 pounds and
 Florida and Diaz was arrested after a                       was 5’3 inches tall. He worked as a fry cook
 highly publicised investigation. Multiple                   and so smelled heavily of onions, a detail no
                                                             witnesses had mentioned.
 victims described their attacker as
                                                             5 of the 14 victims identified Diaz from
 weighing approximately 200 pounds
                                                             lineups of photographs.
 and as between 6’0 and 6’2 inches in
                                                             A short time later the victims were shown
 height.                                                     video lineups from which several more
                                                             identifications of Diaz were made.

2005 Exonerations                                       2004 Exoneration
   8 charges brought by the prosecution. The              In Sept 1985 16-year-old Dennis Brown
   charges were consolidated in a single jury             was sentenced to rape when the victim
   trial.                                                 took the stand and stated: “I had his
   There was no forensic evidence so the                  face this close for at least 20 minutes”
   prosecution focused on the identifications.
                                                          holding her hand inches away and “he’s
   Diaz was found guilty of seven charges.
                                                          the man”
   DNA testing proved Diaz’s innocence 26
   years later.                                           In October 2004, 36-year-old Brown
                                                          was exonerated by DNA evidence.

                                                         Turnbull guidelines (1976)
What the courts think
                                                        That the jury should examine the circumstances of
                                                        the witness’ identification, including
   Courts in the UK and USA have
   acknowledged that identification                       How long was the culprit observed?
   evidence can be unreliable.                            At what distance?
                                                          In what light?
    English law requires the judge to issue
                                                          Was the observation impeded?
   a caution to jury members to question
                                                          Has the witness seen the accused before?
   the circumstances under which an                       How long elapsed before the identification to
   eyewitness made their identification (R                the police?
   v Turnbull, 1976).                                     Was there any material discrepancy in the
                                                          description the suspects appearance?

Turnbull guidelines (1976)                              Do we need experts?
 The judgement assumes that good identification
evidence can be distinguished from poor                   There is a debate about the role of
identification evidence (see later lectures)              experts on eyewitness issues (see
                                                          Chapter 9 of Memon et al. 2003)
When the quality of the evidence is good the jury can
safely be left to assess the value of the identifying
evidence even when is no other evidence to support
it                                                         When Elizabeth Loftus was interviewed
                                                          following Ronald Cotton’s release she
In Scotland, Corroboration Requirement but this can       told reporters the following……
take the form of corroboration from another
eyewitness (see later lectures)

  Frontline Interview:                                                       Why are juries persuaded by
                                                                             eyewitness testimony?

   Q: What can an expert witness, like yourself, do                             LOFTUS: Well, one of the things that we
     in a trial centered on eyewitness testimony?                               know about juries and how they react to
                                                                                evidence that they're hearing is that they do
                                                                                place a lot of weight in eyewitness testimony.
   LOFTUS: One of the things that expert                                        They especially place weight in eyewitness
     testimony can do is to educate the jury to                                 testimony when it's very confidently
     recognise the fact that jurors have                                        expressed. When the victim, for example, can
     misconceptions about the workings of                                       give a whole lot of details. Jurors are
     memory….                                                                   impressed with that confident detailed
                                                                                testimony and they're very persuaded by it.
                                                             Bell, B. E., & Loftus, E. F. (1989). Trivial persuasion in the courtroom: The power of (a few) minor details. Journal
                                                             of personality and social Psychology, 56(5), 669-679.

   Juries                                                                  British Case: Stefan Kiszko.
     Juries are also influenced by confession                                   On the 21st July 1976 Kiszko was convicted of
                                                                                murdering Lesley Molseed, an 11-year-old
     evidence as shown by the research of                                       girl, and was sentenced to life imprisonment.
     Gudjonsson (UK) and Kassin (USA)                                           Kiszko had confessed to committing this
                                                                                crime and had provided detailed descriptions
                                                                                of the murder.
                                                                                But scientific evidence proving Kiszko’s
                                                                                innocence had been suppressed at the
                                                                                original trial. Following a British Court of
                                                                                Appeal his conviction was quashed in 1992,
                                                                                after he had spent 15 years in prison.

   Man guilty of 1975 child
                                                                           Why confess?
   murder                    Kiszko was of low average intelligence, his
                                                                              suggestibility, compliance and acquiescence
                                                                              scores were all moderately elevated and his
                                                                              social desirability score was extremely high.
                                                                              Kiszko was fearful of the police and what
                                                                              would happen to him if he didn’t confess
                                                                            (Gudjonsson, 2003)

November 2007

                                                   Theoretical Perspectives
                                                   Memory Theory:
          The role of theory                       Reality Monitoring framework-
                                                   Source Monitoring Framework (SMF)

     The Reality Monitoring (RM) and SMF               The Reality Monitoring (RM) and SMF

  Johnson & Raye (1981) argued that the             Johnson & Raye (1981) argued that the
  origin of memories will be based on the           origin of memories will be based on the
  characteristics of those memories.                characteristics of those memories.
  According to the Source Monitoring                According to the Source Monitoring
  Framework (SMF) people decide the                 Framework (SMF) people decide the
  origin of their memories by evaluating            origin of their memories by evaluating
  qualitative characteristics and by using          qualitative characteristics and by using
  a reasoning process.                              a reasoning process.

SMF                                                SMF and RM
  Source confusions can occur when individuals      You might wonder if you dreamed or
  misattribute a memory from one source to
  another source.
                                                    thought about something (internal SM),
                                                    whether person A or person B told you
  Example: A bystander seen prior to a crime        something (external SM) and whether
  event is mistakenly identified as the criminal    something was imagined or really
  (transference).                                   happened (Reality Monitoring, RM)

See Lecture 3 for an example of mugshot
  induced bias

SMF and RM                                         Dual Process Models
  Our source and reality monitoring is               Retrieval involves two processes: familiarity and
  subject to error.
  The more similar the memories from                 Positive correlations between subjective ratings of
                                                     familiarity of unknown faces and false alarm rates
  different sources (e.g. real and                   (e.g. Bartlett et al 1993)
  imagined memories) the more chances
  people will make an error.                         Applied when looking at age related increases in false
                                                     alarms in eyewitness tasks (e.g. Searcy, Memon and
                                                     Bartlett, 1999, see Lecture 2).

Theoretical Perspectives                           Theoretical Perspectives
Social Psychological Theory in understanding       Confirmation Bias (see Lectures 9-11)
  social misinformation effects (Lectures 4 & 5)
                                                   73% of British officers presume guilt prior to suspect
                                                     interview (Moston et al. 1992)
Normative influence: we accept information
  because we want social approval, to be liked;    Confirmation Bias: ‘the seeking or interpreting of
Informational influence: a desire to be              evidence in ways that are partial to existing beliefs,
                                                     expectations or a hypothesis in hand’ (Nickerson,
  correct or right in one’s judgement.               1998)

                 Deutsch & Gerard, 1955            Interviewers choose more guilt-presumptive questions
                                                      when they presume guilt rather than innocence
                                                      (Kassin et al., 2003)

Theoretical Perspectives                           Theoretical Perspectives
  Individual differences and personality             Improved practices in gathering evidence
                                                     from eyewitnesses
                                                     For example, the Cognitive Interview (CI) has
  Thus some witnesses and suspects are               been effectively used to obtain more detailed
  more vulnerable than others                        memory reports from witnesses
                                                     Applied in numerous contexts and recently in
                                                     a developing country (Stein & Memon, 2007)
  As illustrated by the Kiszko case

     Theory in understanding                        Theory in understanding false
       deception detection                                   confessions
                                                   Confirmation bias
 Attempted Control
                                                   Cognitive Dissonance
 Cognitive Load
 Biases and faulty stereotypes
                                                  Ref: Tarvis, C. & Aronson, E. (2007)
                                                  Mistakes were made (but not by me).
                                                   Why we justify foolish decisions, bad
                                                   decisions and hurtful acts. Harcourt.

To do well on this course                         Visiting Speaker
 My Psychology & Law text provides an              Tues 13th of Oct 4pm Room T1
 overview of the course topics but there are
 many other sources
 Each week you should review a minimum of 4        Models of memory and how false
 journal articles- 6 preferably                    memories and beliefs arise
 To do well on the course you need to cover
 the entire syllabus as all topics are related.
 Read extensively, do not just rely on the refs    Alan Scoboria, University Winsor
 provided.                                         Canada
 Focus on Methodology, theoretical
 significance and implications for practice.