Playing Dumb with their Eyes Jul 9, 2011 3:05:15 GMT -4
Post by ka9q on Jul 9, 2011 3:05:15 GMT -4
Is that really true? I sure hope it is, because I frequently worry about people being falsely convicted of crimes they did not commit because juries give unwarranted emphasis to eyewitness testimony.
One personal experience in particular drove home for me just how unreliable an eyewitness really can be... specifically me. While driving on I-5 in central California I witnessed a horrendous head-on crash that occurred right in front of me. A bus sideswiped a SUV, which lost control, crossed the median and hit a pickup coming the other way.
Only I never saw -- or remembered seeing the bus. It had to have been there in my field of vision because other witnesses consistently described it to the policeman who took our statements. But I couldn't remember seeing it. I think my own mental recording of the incident simply did not start until I realized that something very non-nominal was going on. By then the bus had already gone on by.
This was a stressful and eye-opening experience for me. Not just because it's extremely unpleasant to witness people being badly hurt, but because it drove home to me the very real limitations of my own human senses. I wish there was a way to get everyone who's ever called on to evaluate testimony in a court to understand this without having to go through a similar experience.