Reducing error is perhaps one of the most trying and difficult objectives of human nature. Personally, I practice reducing errors in many aspects of my life. For instance, I make attempts to study for exams, read over reports, and examine articles for information that are foreign to me so that I have a fair amount of information. However, this week’s text information in social psychology examines the issue of applying the aspects of social psychology in the courtroom and the problems that recur.
One of the issues of our judicial system is, to some, one of the simplest yet, difficult aims. That aim is to prosecute people who are guilty of deviant behavior.Typically, a person may react to the idea that someone witnessed another perform and illegal activity as a “no-brainer.” If an individual saw someone do it, then that’s it. “They are guilty and let’s throw them in jail.” However, it is not as simple as that when the time comes to stand before the judge and so-called expert testimony is required. Often, people forget the details of the situation, have personal biases, and unfortunately have their own agenda at hand.
Several years ago, when I lived in Dallas, Texas, my vehicle’s transmission went out and I had to ask a friend for a ride to work. After a week or two, this friend offered to let me borrow his wife’s car until mine was repaired. I refused at first, but he told me that he had a second, part-time job which required him to not be able to give me the ride any longer. Additionally, he informed me that he and his wife were no longer together, that the car was just sitting in his driveway, and that it would not be a problem.
So, you guessed it, I accepted his offer and borrowed the car. Two days later I was pulled over and arrested for auto theft. Yep!!!!!! Unfortunately, I was unaware of the real relationship that the two had and the car was actually hers, they were going through a horrible divorce, and that everything that he told me was a lie. Moreover, I had never met the woman and it was her testimony that stated that someone had stolen the car from her drive and that she got a good look at the man.
She gave her testimony of a description of the man, of which did not look like me, to the police and was given a picture of me. In court, she testified that it kind of looked like me, and since I was in possession of the vehicle, it was more than likely me. However, it wasn’t until a year later that she recanted her testimony and the two of them had gotten back together. Unfortunately for me, the damage was already done. I spent four months in jail in Dallas and was released on probation because it was what they said was, “his first offense.” Additionally, the repercussions of the incident changed my life.The reason I told this story is that making false accusations and false identifications is truly a real thing in our society.
I have a false record to prove it that will stay with me forever. Our text describes a few ways in which efforts are made to minimize false identifications, however, most courts in this country are filled to capacity with a large percent of a prosecutor’s conviction rate stemming on the eyewitness account of an individual. Right or wrong, this is our society.