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Lately, academics and intellectuals have propagated the notion that inaccurate eyewitness testimony is the primary factor contributing to erroneous convictions. The conventional wisdom


Lately, academics and intellectuals have propagated the notion that inaccurate eyewitness testimony is the primary factor contributing to erroneous convictions.[1] The conventional wisdom must almost certainly be incorrect. Eyewitness testimony is not as dependable as is generally believed, which is why it is flawed. On the other hand, DNA liberations have laughably given this eyewitness testimony must much lesser trustworthy well this scenario presumes. Nearly 80% of the DNA-based exonerations were supposedly provided by eyewitnesses.[2] According to the FBI’s study of several DNA samples from eyewitness cases, up to 25% of disputed eyewitness empathies must be false.[3] In both legal and psychological literature, the damaging illegitimacy of eyewitnesses and the excessive confidence given to them by juries have been thoroughly researched. More than 400 publications on eyewitness accuracy and capability have been published in the last five years in the psychology field, and 500 pieces have been published in the legal literature. While DNA testing raises questions about eyewitness reliability,[4] it has been a lot going on with DNA liberations. But the usefulness of DNA proof just as to “gold standard” to assess the legitimacy of convictions is significantly constrained to the most horrific crimes committed to not known criminals, in this restricted group of cases, of which where the culprit put some criminal things. The majority of crimes were property crimes (like thefts, frauds, and forgeries) or “victimless” crimes (such as nonviolent sex crimes and the sale of illegal drugs), where the culprit usually left an electronic or paper record or is recognized by the victims. While the majority of Exonerees include sentences for murder and rape. When eyewitness identification is not a problem, associates of the victim are more likely to conduct violent crimes.


While they result in 4,000 or even more erroneous convictions each year in the United States, eyewitness testimony mistakes,[5] really aren’t possible causes in the majority of criminal cases.[6] Contrarily, conversational testimony is used in the majority of contentious criminal proceedings. It is uncommon for a criminal case to proceed without any testimony about what the defendant said or what someone else said to him or her. When the accusation includes misrepresenting to a government official, extorting, making a criminal menace, obstructing the course of justice, bribes, and the solicitation of criminal illicit actions, or other types of efforts, menaces ascribed to the offender are frequently the actus reus of the felony. These claims are frequently stated verbally without supporting documentation. Identifying the defendant’s actual words and the key usually depends on the recollection and reliability of a credible witness, especially in a conversational setting. Sometimes, the plaintiff’s cases to one respondent are based on a shaky conversational nugget.


In United States v. Alvarez,[7] for instance, two guys disclosed to DEA officers a scheme to fly a cargo of kitchen equipment from a remote airport near Miami, Florida, to Colombia while carrying marijuana on the return journey. Alvarez drove a pickup truck full of kitchen equipment to the runway and helped load the truck’s contents onto the plane. Alvarez was questioned by some of the people who were working under him and enquired if he would be returning to the off-loading location. Alvarez “smiled and gave an enthusiastic nod. According to the court, Alvarez’s smile and nod in answer to the agent’s query—along with the hearsay regarding the marijuana smuggling scheme that was not otherwise connected to Alvarez—were sufficient evidence to convict him of marijuana smuggling conspiracy.[8] An exchange he had regarding someone else’s bail served as Carmine Tramunti’s link to a criminal plot in another drug case. We are having trouble getting Moe Lentini out of prison, a suspected co-conspirator informed Tramunti. Try to free him, Tramunti said, adding that there was little she could do about Lentini’s bail bond collateral.”[9]


Professionals just look at so numerous flaws in eyewitness evidence in great detail. These flaws have been consistently demonstrated in tests and supported by thousands of exonerations.[10] Our initial acceptance of their accuracy has been significantly changed as a result. But so, at just period, our confidence in just accuracy of conversational witnesses been mainly not changed. A comparison of just aims to be recalled—a discussion for conversational witnesses to an online encounter for eyewitnesses—must be done because there aren’t many researches specifically looking at conversational testimony. This exercise suggests that other verbal witnesses might exist prone to mistakes so the eyewitness at each level of the memory process, including acquisition, retention, and retrieval.


In the case of State v. Cromedy[11], The Supreme Court of New Jersey unanimously held that “a cross-racial identification, as a subset of eyewitness identification, requires a special jury instruction in an appropriate case.”[12] Minority defendants can gain in certain ways by cross-racial recognition procedures, although this possibility is only present in a small percentage of cases. The cross-racial identification instruction is a theoretical step toward reducing the consequences of “own-race” bias, but in fact, the court sets a bar that is very challenging to satisfy. An eyewitness’s testimony is typically supported by some confirming evidence.

In the case of United States v. Moore,[13] the court ruled “There are no comparable safeguards where most conversational testimony is concerned.”[14] The reliability of conversational witnesses is not specifically addressed in this type of testimony; rather, it is included together broadly with all other types of testimony. However, there is a boilerplate instruction that is given to the jury regarding all witnesses, inviting them to judge the witness’ credibility based on their demeanour. This instruction is likely ineffective because it has been well established that demeanour evidence is useless in determining if a witness is lying or mistaken.

In the case of United States v. Downing,[15] the court ruled that “eyewitness testimony can satisfy the helpfulness test of Federal Rule of Evidence 702.”[16]  It appears peculiar to grab that the true significance of expert analysis offered to demonstrate the fallibility of eyewitness testimony so squanders time or confuses the matter that it should not be deemed even when its presumed effect is to abrogate the only (eyewitness) evidence. Much further analysis of the accessibility of other methodologies which would serve the aims that the complainant strives to start introducing expert testimony could also serve to rationalise marginalisation as an esoteric proposal.   


This article’s main goal is to increase the nuance of and testimony for the generally disregarded issue of conversational testimony. Conversational testimony is actually more common, more probable to be wrong, more probable to be accepted by the jury, and more probable to generate more permanent mistakes as eyewitness testimony, yet being long eclipsed by attention to it. When one should focus on conversational testimony just to we try to piece together the past during litigation, we need just precautions to lessen the risk of errors. Today’s appeals are less effective compared to a few generations earlier, and effective indirect assaults—attacks made on a conviction after it has been upheld on direct appeal—are much less common.[17] Formerly a safeguard for erroneous convictions, congressional habeas corpus,[18] has had a lot of its vigour taken away by legislation and legal precedent.[19] The procedure of acquiring evidence, which, as was mentioned, functions essentially as a lawless jungle, needs to be much improved. To get remarks from doubtful or declarations and testimony concerning the respondent’s comments just a witness, almost any degree of deception, coercion, or other inducements may be used. The risks exist because even the smallest “suggestions” can drastically change memory. Reconstructing what the police or the prosecution said to the suspect as well as what the suspect said depends normally on the reliability of the participants, including their memories.

Author(s) Name: Aadrika Malhotra (Guru Gobind Singh Indraprastha University)


[1] Jacqueline McMurtrie, The Role of the Social Sciences in Preventing Wrongful Convictions, 42 Am. CRIM. L. REV. 1271, 1275 (2005).

[2] Brian L. Cutler, Mistaken Identification: The Eyewitness, Psychology, and the Law 8 (Cambridge University Press 1995).

[3] Peter Neufeld, Convicted by Juries, Exonerated by Science, 42 Bus. Law. ABA. 221, 222 (1996).

[4] United States v. Wade, 388 U.S. 218 (1967).

[5] Cutler, supra note 2.

[6] Id.

[7] United States v. Alvarez, 625 F.2d 1196 (1980).

[8] Id.

[9] United States v. Tramunti, 513 F.2d 1087 (1975).

[10] McMurtrie, supra note 1.

[11] State v. Cromedy, 727 A.2D 457 (1999).   

[12] Id.

[13] United States v. Moore, 739 S.E.2d 627 (2013)

[14] Id.

[15] United States v. Downing, 753 F.2d 1224 (1985).

[16] Id.

[17] Keith A. Findley, The Multiple Dimensions of Tunnel Vision in Criminal Cases, WIS. L. REV. 291, 294 (2006).

[18] Eric M. Freedman, Milestones in Habeas Corpus: Just Because John Marshall Said it, Doesn’t Make it So, 51 ALA. L. REV. 531, 534 (2000).

[19] Jack A. Guttenberg, Federal Habeas Corpus, Constitutional Rights and Procedural Forfeitures: The Delicate Balance, 12 HOFSTRA L. REV. 617, 618 (1984).