Eyewitnesses Don’t Always Get It Right

Can you trust your own eyes? Would you make a reliable eye witness?

Take this quick video test, courtesy of Dallas Fox station KDFW. One of the men in the video steals a tape and then walks right in front of the surveillance camera giving you a perfect look at his face. Then try to pick him out of a police lineup. It’s harder than you think!

An interesting post by Poynter Online’s Al Tompkins focuses on how eyewitness testimony often can be unreliable. Mistaken eyewitness identification is the Number 1 reason innocent people have been sent to prison in Virginia, a two-year study concludes. The study is compelling, but it’s not personal. To better get a feel of the injustice of a mistaken conviction, read “My Name is Not Robert,” from the New York Times Magazine back in 2000, or this compilation of stories of the wrongly convicted.

- Jon Harmon

Comments

  1. Mihaela Lica says:

    Amazing entry (rare to see this topic on a PR blog, but you are a force for good). I like the way you choose your topics. You manage to puzzle me thoughts. I had no idea that this is such a big issue in the US, but the same happens in Europe (Germany) and the legal system is always in a hurry to “convict” people… I think it is all about the money (the longer a trial, the highest the wins for lawyers and judges and…)

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