Criminal Investigations New Edition Changes Cont.

The new edition of Criminal Investigations features a small new section in the area of “confessions” in Chapter  5. It is followed by the familiar “Reliability of the witness” section.

“Why people confess – new

It has been estimated that 80% of all people will confess to a crime. There are two basic catagories of people who confess,

1. guilty parties who psychologically need to “get it off their chest”

2. persons who are not guilty but who act under some urge to confess.

The reliability of eyewitness identification

eyewitness identification and other information provided by eyewitnesses to a criminal offense are relied on heavily by both the police and courts in the investigative and adjudication stages of our system of justice, yet research indicates that eyewitness testimony may be unreliable.
Eyewitness identification and description is regarded as the most unreliable form of evidence and causes more miscarriages of justice than any other method of proof.
Human perception is sloppy and uneven.
Experts distinguish a number of factors that limit a person’s ability to give a complete account of events or to identify people accurately. The following are among those factors:
1. The significance or in significance of the event
2. the length of the period of observation
3. lack of ideal conditions
4. psychological factors internal to the witness
5. the physical condition of the witness
6. expectancy — means that an individual perceives things in the manner in which he or she expects them to appear.

An eyewitnesses conduct can be influenced by expectations and inferences, which in turn can be influenced by the verbal and nonverbal behavior of investigators, the structure of the identification process and the environment in which the identification takes place.”

Attorney Ronald A. Sellon

About Attorney Ronald A. Sellon

Ronald A. Sellon is a licensed Attorney in the state of Massachusetts and U.S. District Court, Massachusetts as well as a Sergeant with a Municipal Police Department and U.S. military Veteran. Additionally, he has taught Criminal Procedure at the Massachusetts State Police Academy in New Braintree and has written a text on Criminal Procedure for police field training officer programs. He is a graduate of the FBI National Academy, was a 2008 recipient of the Massachusetts Coalition of Police (Mass C.O.P.) Presidents award and holds a Bachelors Degree in Law Enforcement, a Masters Degree in Criminal Justice Administration, and a Juris Doctor Law Degree. Questions related to content material may be directed to
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