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Moontanman

Eye witnesses?

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@Moontanman, I’m not sure if I’m shooting accurately here as I only browsed through the thread but you have to realise that you do not go to jail for claiming you saw a UFO. You do however go to jail for a long time for lying under oath in court. 
People tell all kinds of stories when there are little or none consequences.

Edited by koti

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1 hour ago, koti said:

@Moontanman, I’m not sure if I’m shooting accurately here as I only browsed through the thread but you have to realise that you do not go to jail for claiming you saw a UFO. You do however go to jail for a long time for lying under oath in court. 
People tell all kinds of stories when there are little or none consequences.

Yes, this is true, but you would be amazed at the number of people who confess falsely to crimes as well. Let's stick to how much weight eyewitness testimony should have. I'm still not sure I want to start another thread about a particular event yet. So far this one is interesting by itself... 

 

I am thinking i should have included some question about how we judge different testimony that while eyewitness, is still quite different in form. maybe I do need to start the new thread, lets see if this one generates any more ideas. So far it doesn't seem to be going my way at all... 

Edited by Moontanman

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1 hour ago, Moontanman said:

Do you give more credence to the victim than someone who simply saw the crime?  

Here is an extract from a paper* primarily designed for educational and research purposes. The list shows which factors that are supposed to add credence versus factors that have a negative impact. Note that the list distinguishes between factors present at the time of observation and factors present at a witness confrontation. I post this as it seems to give a good overview what factors that are important to take into consideration. I'll do dome reading and possibly add some more thoughts later.

Positive factors:

At the time of observation:

1. Former acquaintance with the perpetrator

2. Long observation time

3. High attention and good lighting conditions

4. Repeated exposures

5. A perpetrator with a distinct and distinctive appearance

6. Same group affiliation (gender, age, race etc.)

7. The witness was emotionally disturbed and the perpetrator was the center of attention and cause of the condition

At the confrontation:

8. A short time since the testimony

9. Proper confrontation procedure

10. Automatic, direct and holistic recognition process

11. Quick identification decision

12. High subjective security and good circumstances at the time of the testimony

13. Emotional memory reactions

14. Spontaneous correction of the person's appearance that can be confirmed

 

Negative factors:

At the time of observation:

15. Short observation time

16. Low attention and poor lighting conditions

17. Perpetrator with everyday appearance

18. The perpetrator exposed a weapon at the time of the witness

19. Perpetrator of other group affiliation (gender, age, race, etc.)

20. The witness was emotionally disturbed and the perpetrator was not the center of attention or cause of the condition

21. Neutral and everyday event

At the confrontation:

22. A confrontation where the suspect deviates from the figures

23. The witness has seen the suspect before (for example in the media)

24. Very long time observation

25. The witness reason with who must be the perpetrator

26. Long time for the identification decision

27. Low subjective certainty for identification

 

 

*) Link to original swedish paper: http://www.juridicum.su.se/process/bevis. Note: I have partially used machine translation.

 

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2 hours ago, zapatos said:

If you talked to your brother as he left his girlfriend's house last night and were asked to testify about that, do you feel your testimony would be classified only as "better than nothing"?

Well, if my brother was a noted liar... or maybe had some sort of head injury... or perhaps psychological issues... or maybe was drunk or high or something like that... then yes. 

That said, the nature of the claim is pretty mundane. I really wouldn't need evidence, unless it was being used as an alibi. In that case, I would need more precise data better than testimony. I'd need to see when his phone pinged the nearest cell tower, surveillance footage of him elsewhere, etc.

2 hours ago, zapatos said:

I don't feel we can make a blanket "crap" statement about eyewitness testimony.

That's fair. My version of this same sentiment is "it's better than nothing."

2 hours ago, Moontanman said:

Do you give more credence to the victim than someone who simply saw the crime?  

I might actually go the other direction. Victims tend to be under stress and have surges of hormones that drastically change the way memories become encoded. The 3rd party observer may have a more accurate account, but it really depends on the nature of the situation.

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2 hours ago, Moontanman said:

Yes, this is true, but you would be amazed at the number of people who confess falsely to crimes as well. Let's stick to how much weight eyewitness testimony should have. I'm still not sure I want to start another thread about a particular event yet. So far this one is interesting by itself... 

 

I am thinking i should have included some question about how we judge different testimony that while eyewitness, is still quite different in form. maybe I do need to start the new thread, lets see if this one generates any more ideas. So far it doesn't seem to be going my way at all... 

I think its fairly simple, if 5 witnesses describe an event exactly the same in court, theres a very good chance that event went as described by those 5 people. If 5 stoned hippies say they saw a pink unicorn fly by their shack at noon, theres a very good chance it didn’t happen.  What Im saying is that eye witnesses can turn out to be legitimate or completely useless sources of information depending on cicrumstances/consequences. 

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17 hours ago, zapatos said:

It can prove someone else committed the crime.

That wasn't your scenario. The eyewitness only places them in the vicinity. That's not what convicted them.

 

17 hours ago, zapatos said:

A conviction being overturned does not necessarily invalidate eyewitness testimony.

And? We are talking about overturned conviction based on evidence (e.g. DNA) which shows the person was mis-identified, not a technicality. 

You are making up a straw-man scenario

17 hours ago, zapatos said:

You inferred it.

No, you inferred it. You probably meant to say I implied it. But I don't think I did.

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On 10/21/2019 at 1:43 PM, iNow said:

That said, the nature of the claim is pretty mundane. I really wouldn't need evidence, unless it was being used as an alibi. In that case, I would need more precise data better than testimony. I'd need to see when his phone pinged the nearest cell tower, surveillance footage of him elsewhere, etc.

 

My point is that the quality of the eyewitness testimony varies with the difficulty of the memory task. Generally speaking, remembering something complex and new is difficult; remembering something simple and familiar is easy. It seems to me that saying 'eyewitness testimony is bad' is a generalization that misidentifies the problem.

Rather than saying 'eyewitness testimony is bad' and risking that people will disregard 'good' eyewitness testimony, it might make more sense to say 'the quality of eyewitness testimony decreases under the following circumstances: stress, bad lighting, unfamiliarity, etc'. If you and I were both asked to testify whether or not it was your brother leaving a building, I believe your eyewitness testimony should carry more weight than mine. Hence my dislike of saying 'eyewitness testimony is crap'.

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24 minutes ago, zapatos said:

. If you and I were both asked to testify whether or not it was your brother leaving a building, I believe your eyewitness testimony should carry more weight than mine

I completely take your point and you’ve laid out your case well. That said, I’m much more likely to lie to protect my brother... yet another indication of the crappiness of eye witness accounts and further reinforcement of the need for better evidence sources to validate any important claims. 

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Although I appreciate this topic's importance, I worry that a wrong approach could do more harm than good.

The Damage Report: Florida Officer Caught Planting Evidence (planting drugs in cars with impunity)

The Young Turks: Why Aren't People Outraged at This NYPD Cop Planting Weed?  (and so on and so forth...)

Perhaps it is the witnesses who really need to know how this works, if the cops already know, and I would be excited to find that a witness outwitted a lying cop.  I know that you, Moontanman have been critical of religion, and I am realizing how religion is intertwined with power.  Some kind of ancestral spirituality seems natural, but throughout history people have claimed to be god-kings or to have divine mandate, which is one alternative to a more democratic concept of legitimacy that involves a grass-roots or bottom-up consensus.  Is it any coincidence then that both our spiritual leaders and our police forces have attempted to dupe us?  They often did or said things we couldn't see personally, and used their supreme authority to make us question our what we thought we saw, what we knew.  They gave us the narratives through which we interpreted and understood the language of reality and encoded into memory its supposed meaning -- see the role of 'elaboration' in the levels of processing model of memory --, so that we would thereafter correctively remember those important things as we were supposed to understand them all along, or not at all.  Dual processing models -- you remember Norenzayan's research on analytic thinking and belief in god, right? -- might have a crucial role in disentangling the process I have described above.

How was that?  Too abstract?

12:17 PM CST December 12th

6th

Bezos aside, I liked this Al Jazeera on India's media consolidation by the Ambani brothers.  Ah, the future.  12:36 PM

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