In Doubt: The Psychology of the Criminal Justice Process

In Doubt: The Psychology of the Criminal Justice Process

by Dan Simon
     
 

ISBN-10: 0674046153

ISBN-13: 9780674046153

Pub. Date: 06/20/2012

Publisher: Harvard

The criminal justice process is unavoidably human. Police detectives, witnesses, suspects, and victims shape the course of investigations, while prosecutors, defense attorneys, jurors, and judges affect the outcome of adjudication. In this sweeping review of psychological research, Dan Simon shows how flawed investigations can produce erroneous evidence and why

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Overview

The criminal justice process is unavoidably human. Police detectives, witnesses, suspects, and victims shape the course of investigations, while prosecutors, defense attorneys, jurors, and judges affect the outcome of adjudication. In this sweeping review of psychological research, Dan Simon shows how flawed investigations can produce erroneous evidence and why well-meaning juries send innocent people to prison and set the guilty free.

The investigator’s task is genuinely difficult and prone to bias. This often leads investigators to draw faulty conclusions, assess suspects’ truthfulness incorrectly, and conduct coercive interrogations that can lead to false confessions. Eyewitnesses’ identification of perpetrators and detailed recollections of criminal events rely on cognitive processes that are often mistaken and can easily be skewed by the investigative procedures used. In the courtroom, jurors and judges are ill-equipped to assess the accuracy of testimony, especially in the face of the heavy-handed rhetoric and strong emotions that crimes arouse.

Simon offers an array of feasible ways to improve the accuracy of criminal investigations and trials. While the limitations of human cognition will always be an obstacle, these reforms can enhance the criminal justice system’s ability to decide correctly whom to release and whom to punish.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780674046153
Publisher:
Harvard
Publication date:
06/20/2012
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
416
Sales rank:
687,480
Product dimensions:
6.50(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.50(d)

Related Subjects

Table of Contents

1 Introduction 1

2 "We're Closing In on Him": Investigation Dynamics 17

3 "Officer, That's Him!": Eyewitness Identification of Perpetrators 50

4 "Officer, That's What Happened": Eyewitness Memory for the Criminal Event 90

5 "Just Admit It, You're Guilty": Interrogating Suspects 120

6 "We Find the Defendant Guilty": Fact-Finding at Trial 144

7 "Bolting Out the Truth": The Trial's Fact-Finding Mechanisms 180

8 Toward Accuracy 206

Notes 225

Acknowledgments 387

Index 389

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