Psychology of Witness Testimony and the Criminal Justice System

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The prosecution in a court hearing should substantiate its case beyond reasonable doubt and the jurors have to be convinced and definite of the defendant’s culpability (Kapardis, 2014). In spite of the protections in the criminal justice system to defend suspects against unjust verdict based on erroneous identification, there are numerous incidents of these cases. A great deal of the research on the correlation between eyewitness confidence and eyewitness truthfulness or accuracy has focused on the conditions around the initial two phases of the eyewitness involvement: the first witnessed incident, and the gathering of evidence between the witnessed incident and trial. Research has shown that jury members give much important to eyewitness testimony. Even in the availability of scientifically validated evidence like DNA fingerprinting, eyewitness testimony is the courtroom remains powerful and influential (Brandl, 2014). Due to the great risks and interests in numerous courtroom trials, eyewitnesses themselves certainly recognize the value of their testimony. The value of witness testimony is obvious and straightforward (McDonald, 2000, 986): There are reasons to believe that witness testimony may be of particular importance in the trials before the International Tribunal due to the absence of the kind of detailed documentary evidence or paper-trail that was available in the trial of major war criminals before the Nuremberg Tribunal… Thus, the powers of the International Tribunal in relation to witness testimony may be viewed as the inherent powers of any criminal court or as implied necessary powers of the Trial Chamber under the Statute.