Eyewitness Memory and Identification

• Should eyewitness memory factors be taken into the consideration when making a plea bargaining decision in the courtroom?

Evidence has revealed that eyewitness memory can affect identification. This is because DNA has overturned more than 70% of eyewitness identifications.

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• Age, race, and alcohol intoxication of eyewitness are the major factors affecting the eyewitness identification in the United States legal system.

The independent variables are age, race and alcohol intoxication, while the dependent variable is the eyewitness identifications. Thus, the independent variables can affect the dependent variables in the sense that older adults and children often face challenges in recollecting events thereby likely to make an eyewitness misidentification. People who are intoxicated with alcohol are more likely to incorrectly identify someone in a lineup or in court. Moreover, an eyewitness is likely to make a bias towards other ethnic groups thereby giving false eyewitness identifications.

Purpose Statement

This chapter explores the methodology used to carry out the study. The section will investigate the intent of the study based on the hypothesis that age, race and alcohol intoxication of eyewitness are the major factors affecting the eyewitness identification in the U.S. legal system. The study will identify the participants together with the materials and procedures be used in the study. Variables are elemental in their interaction to bring out the intent of the study. Moreover, the study section will explore the methods that will be used to analyze the data and present the data for further use in deriving conclusions and recommendations.


Convenience sampling was used to acquire the participants. The study has used a sample of 93 attorneys and 46 prosecutors with all from matched countries in California participating. The data needed to be warranted that they are obtained from a single state of California. Over a period of 18 months, the participants were contacted by email, telephone, and postal mail. Letters were written to the District Attorney and the Public Defender in all the fifty-eight counties in a request for the participation of the Deputy District Attorneys and the Deputy Public Defenders. Eight counties contributed a total of 93 Deputy Public Defenders and 46 District Attorneys (Pezdek, 2016).

Materials and Procedures

Questionnaires were used. Each participant filled a questionnaire containing four background questions. A mixed-factor design was used to carry out the study. One factor was considered to be varying, which was the prosecutor vs. defense attorney. A separate analysis was done on the responses to all the questions asked still with the use of the mixed-factor design. An essential pair-wise comparison was made in the conditions that included the significant interactions.

Five questions were used in each of the questionnaires from where the respondents were to give their procedural responses. Four question versions of crime scenario were also used. Each of the attorneys was asked to read four question versions of the crime scenario. After reading them, they were asked to respond to the five questions using the facts presented from the scenario. As part of the modification process, the grant proposal specified that 125 District Attorneys and 125 Deputy Public Defenders were to participate in the study. This was a confirmation, as those who participated were not the ones recommended for the study. The study, thus, used a small sample size but what was achieved was what the study wanted.


In keeping with other scholarly studies, this study has used both the dependent and the independent variables. These variables are categorical of the way the study is conducted, the material results to be obtained, and the final decisions that the respondents will make. This means a lot when it comes to analysis of the study results. The first is the common decision that regards the plea-bargaining by the respondents. The other variable, which is independent, is the strength of the eyewitness factors. The results given would certainly be influenced by the eyewitness factors, which will determine the nature of the decisions on plea-bargaining. To come back to the research question stated before, the goal of this research and the separation of the variables is to discover how independent variables, which include race, drug intoxication and other things, can affect the accuracy and legitimacy of eyewitness identification in a lineup or in court. Given the rather significant amount of prior research on the topic, it would seem that there is plenty of reason to not pay credence or loyalty to a person being identified by an eyewitness. This does not mean that the identification is always incorrect or invalid. Rather, it is just that there is a much higher chance of it being invalid or even biased then some would have the public believe. Beyond that, it is…

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