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NCJ Number: 164089 Find in a Library
Title: Mistaken Identification: Where Law Meets Psychology Head On
Journal: Howard Journal of Criminal Justice  Volume:35  Issue:3  Dated:(August 1996)  Pages:232-241
Author(s): G M Davies
Date Published: 1996
Page Count: 10
Type: Survey
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United Kingdom
Annotation: This analysis of research on the identification process and case examples of actual or alleged mistaken identification in Great Britain concludes that until the central recommendations of the 1976 Devlin report are enacted into law, miscarriages of justice based on mistaken identity will probably continue to be a problem in England and Wales.
Abstract: In these countries, criminal convictions continue to be obtained on the basis of identification evidence alone. The Devlin Report concluded that the process of identification was inherently fallible and recommended that such prosecutions cease except in exceptional circumstances. Devlin also recommended more psychological research on the identification process. Studies have revealed that people recall only fragmentary information after a brief encounter and develop a full representation of a person's appearance only after repeated opportunities to observe and interact. The fragmentary nature of memory for appearance has implications not only for lineups but also for composite aids to recall such as Identikit and computerized counterparts. The Court of Appeal has reversed some verdicts, but other cases have not had such outcomes. Therefore, the Scottish position that insists on independent corroboration of all identification claims deserves serious consideration. Note and 21 references (Author abstract modified)
Main Term(s): Criminology
Index Term(s): Eyewitness memory; Foreign courts; Great Britain/United Kingdom; Rules of evidence; Suspect identification
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