About Me

My photo

Did Socrates say "Know Thyself", or was he misunderstood, as all are. Show Thyself is all we can do. The knowing is unknowable.  

I am filled with joy.  It can't be helped.  

Became a Farmer, Builder, Musician, Tank Commander, Librarian, Lawyer and Minister. I have failed at many things. And now retired.  Filled, just filled, with Joy. 

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Fallability of Eyewitness Testimony - studies

The certainty of the conclusion that eyewitness testimony is not reliable has been with us for a long time. The obstacles of perception, recall, narration and bias have always been insurmountable and completely understood by those who "disagree". Look at the wide spectrum of "religious" points of view, all of which presume or claim to be Reality-Based, and yet maintain profound contradictory views on the "observations" made by various disciples, people wandering in the desert, and seeing things in caves.

Since the arrival of Scientific Method, our scepticism of eyewitnesses has received scientific validation. E.g. Seymour Orless, The Fallibility of Eyewitness Testimony, 86 O.D./O.S.L.J. 2020 (1961) [survey of studies].

And yet, the courts continue to rely almost exclusively upon the narrated recollection of "facts" -- including often unlikely details -- by witnesses. Little wonder, then, that we are where we are: Everyone complaining about justice, and not doing a thing about it.