Witness for the Defense: The Accused, the Eyewitness and the Expert Who Puts Memory on Trial

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Human memory may not, as many think, resemble a nonerasable tape of our lives' events, replayable at a whim. That, at any rate, is the view of University of Washington psychologist Loftus ( Eyewitness Testimony ), writing here with Ketcham ( Under the Influence ). Her theory is that three major stages exist in the memory--acquisiton, retention and retrieval--and that problems can develop at any stage, rendering memory highly fallible. Loftus has testified as an expert witness in more than 150 court cases, several of which she details here. She urges juries to remain skeptical of eyewitness's identifications of defendants, and she demonstrates how mistakes have been made. This is a book of surpassing interest and potential influence for psychology students, prosecutors and the general public. (Apr.)
Library Journal
Loftus, a psychologist and an expert on memory, has testified on the fallibility of eyewitness identification in over 150 trials during the last 16 years. Here she recounts her experiences as an expert witness for various defendants, including Steve Titus, whose rape conviction was overturned with her help. She also presents her review of the John ``Ivan the Terrible'' Demjanjuk case. In discussing her research on memory, Loftus reveals how some information is lost from memory or never stored and how memories can be altered by subsequent events. She shows how problems with police procedures in line-ups, photo identifications, and interviews as well as other factors can affect memory and lead to misidentification. Actual exchanges on the witness stand plus her analysis of evidentiary material make for engrossing and troubling reading. Highly recommended for the general public and scholars interested in whether justice is served in the criminal justice system.-- Mary Jane Brustman, SUNY at Albany Libs.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780312055370
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press
  • Publication date: 3/28/1991
  • Edition description: 1st ed
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 288

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