True Witness: Cops, Courts, Science and the Battle against Misidentification / Edition 1

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Overview

Honest but mistaken eyewitnesses are the leading cause of wrongful convictions in the United States. As the innocent go to prison their lives are shattered; as the criminal goes free, the public remains vulnerable. With a vivid cast of brilliant scientists, street-wise cops, and former prosecutors—all haunted by the legacy of wrongful convictions, some directly involved with one—Doyle sheds light on the intersection of personal ambition, legal and political principles, and scientific inquiry. He highlights real possibilities for improved identification, their challenges to the legal tradition, and persuasively argues that the promises of improved justice must be realized before another wrongful conviction lets the guilty go free. This is an important look at a pressing issue in the news with every exoneration.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Jim Doyle's new book, True Witness, could not have come at a more opportune time to help inform and shape the growing and intensifying national debate about the value and reliability of eye witness identification testimony. A factual story that reads like fiction, not like an academic treatise, Doyle's book will attract and hold the attention of people on all sides of this important issue. Prosecutors, defense attorneys, police investigators, jurists and the public cannot help but benefit from exposure to True Witness.

—William J. Bratton, Chief of Police, Los Angeles, and former Police Commissioner of New York City and Boston

"True Witness moves like a novel as it provides the reader with real people facing enormous odds against the flaws of eye witness identification, yet often emerging victorious. Any reader who is fascinated with the criminal justice system will love this work — cheering for the innocent as well as those who catch the guilty. You cannot put this book down."

—Rikki Klieman, Trial Attorney, Today Show Legal Analyst and Court TV Anchor

"As someone who has been in the forefront of the battle against mistaken identification, I can say that Doyle has captured the tensions and challenges, the characters and the issues, like no one else."

—Elizabeth Loftus, co-author of Witness for the Defense and The Myth of Repressed Memory

"Anyone who is interested in knowing why eyewitnesses make mistakes — the single greatest cause of wrongful convictions and how best to prevent those errors should buy this very readable book."

—Barry Scheck, Cardozo Law School, Co-Director, The Innocence Project

"Doyle’s work is a gem, its words fly by, its message sinks in deeply–how to avoid convicting the innocent and letting the guilty go free. His tale of colorful characters, memorable cases, three-cornered battles among police, prosecutors and defenders produces a singular insight into how, in the real world, we can make things better. Where we have failed for years, James Doyle shows us how we may finally succeed."

—James B. Zagel , United States District Judge, Former Director, Illinois State Police

Library Journal
Imagine being unjustly accused of a crime and then being sent to prison after an eyewitness testifies that you are guilty. The nightmare of mistaken identity happens more often than one might think. Honest but often mistaken, eyewitnesses are the leading cause of wrongful convictions in the United States, and for every innocent person who goes to jail a criminal goes free. Doyle, a leading legal authority on eyewitness testimony, here considers the many failures of eyewitness testimony. He provides an analysis of the role of memory and echoes the warning of early psychologists that honesty is no guarantee of reliability and that a witness's certainty is no proof of accuracy. Jurors place remarkable implicit faith in eyewitness testimony even though they have no idea how accurate an eyewitness's memory may be. Fortunately, advancements in DNA testing are beginning to supersede eyewitness accounts. Highly recommended for all libraries and criminal justice collections.-Tim Delaney, SUNY at Oswego Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781403964304
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press
  • Publication date: 1/15/2005
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 240
  • Product dimensions: 6.40 (w) x 9.56 (h) x 0.95 (d)

Meet the Author

James M. Doyle is a veteran litigator, the leading legal authority on eyewitness testimony and the coauthor, with Elizabeth Loftus, of Eyewitness Testimony: Civil and Criminal, "The Bible" for lawyers. He lives in Brookline, Massachusetts.

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Table of Contents

Preface

• I Was as Sure as I Could Be

• Only the Lawyer Is Obdurate: Professor Munsterberg Battles Dean Wigmore

• The Lawyers' Art: Bad Verdicts from Good Witnesses

• Nobody Likes a Smart Ass: Bob Buckout Joins the Battle

• The Book on the Street: The Cops, the Courts, and the Eyewitnesses

• We Took Loftus Seriously: Elizabeth Loftus and the Science of Memory

• Thinking about Seeing: The Accelerating Study of Eyewitnesses

• When Justice Is Done in the Courts: Three Prosecutors Meet the Psychologists

• DNA to the Rescue (of Some)

• Break Out Shot: Gary Wells and the System

• A Technical Working Group: The Police Craft a New Book

• A Road Ahead: The Continuing Study of Wrongful Convictions

• An Endgame: Looking Back on Gary Graham

• Notes

• Current Events: A Short Bibliographical Note

• Acknowledgments

• Index

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted April 3, 2010

    Highly Recommended

    A great book associates the psychological research discoveries with practical criminal cases. I read it for a law class assignment but was absolutely attracted.

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