We have recently discussed how biological factors such as limits to vision can impact the reliability of eyewitness testimony. As if that human limit were not enough to put the reliance on the type of evidence into question, there is at least one more significant threat to the accuracy of a witness’ account of an incident.
Investigators involved in a criminal case can pose a threat to the accurate testimony of an eyewitness. A social psychologist warns that law enforcement techniques unfold like a scientific experiment. In scientific studies, human bias is always a factor; it is no different during officers’ criminal investigations.
The threat of human bias impacting the outcome of a defendant’s criminal case is real and scary. Any bias controlling the direction of an investigation puts the freedom of a person in jeopardy. Is there a way for law enforcement to try to reduce the likelihood of tainting eyewitness testimony?
According to a piece published by the American Psychological Association, a specific method used in investigations can be improved in order to create fewer false identifications by eyewitnesses. Researchers claim that during lineups, investigators should be careful about their wording regarding the lineup process. They should direct an eyewitness that the suspect might not be in the lineup at all. This tactic can take pressure off of a witness to pick someone out of the lineup before them.
To criminal defense lawyers, it is no surprise that law enforcement can make mistakes or lead a case in the wrong direction. If you are facing a criminal charge in Memphis and have concerns about how police have handled your case, discuss your worries with an attorney whom you trust.