The public reads or hears something about the criminal justice system nearly every day in the news. However, many people know little about how the system works on a day to day basis. To learn more, here are three interesting facts about the criminal justice system.
1. Eyewitness Testimony Is Often Unreliable
Testimony from eyewitnesses can be full of errors, and not because the witness is necessarily trying to be dishonest. These errors occur because the human memory is faulty, and memories are reconstructed each time they are brought to the surface. Identifying the perpetrator of a crime can also be difficult for a victim to do accurately and depends on the amount of trauma experienced by the victim and the other people pictured in the lineup. One way to make this process more accurate is to have a certified court videographer Massachusetts film the process to make sure no outside factors influence the victim’s decision.
2. Innocent People May Confess
The reasons why innocent people sometimes confess depend on their individual circumstances, but one of the main reasons is that they believe admitting to the crime will be more beneficial to them than trying to maintain their innocence, especially when there is not much evidence to back up their innocence. Fortunately, advances in DNA technology have made it easier to exonerate innocent people and correctly charge the actual person at fault.
3. There Is a Database of DNA Samples
This database is called the Combined DNA Index System, and it allows states and local agencies to compare known DNA of missing persons, convicted criminals, and forensic samples collected from various crime scenes. DNA can be found in skin and hair samples left at the scene of a crime.
Consider these three facts the next time you hear or read about a criminal case.