"There have now been thousands of studies with incredibly consistent results all showing that suggestion has this outsized powerful effect on eyewitness memory," Garrett said.There are many other areas in "forensic science" that are not up to modern standards as Prof. Saks explains:
"Even if police are trying their best not to signal anything, the eyewitness -- who may be a victim of a crime and hesitant about participating -- may be looking to the police officer for reassurance and for cues and may perceive things that weren't even intended."
Garrett estimated that hundreds of police departments have begun to change the way they conduct lineups, for instance by having an officer who is not involved in the case supervise, and by informing the witness that the suspect may not be in the lineup at all.
"I actually divide forensic science into two big camps," said Michael Saks, law professor at Arizona State University. "There is the camp that is using real science that is borrowed from basic science, such as chemistry and DNA.In the "wannabe science" category, he is referring to many techniques that purport to be science but in reality are little more than subjective guesses. (Take this bite-mark "analysis," for example.) I would like all criminals to be caught and imprisoned. To do that, we owe it to the innocent to bring criminal justice up to modern standards.
"On the other hand you have got the kind of -- well, my kindest word for it is almost-science or wannabe science, and that includes handwriting, fingerprints, fire and arson investigation and forensic dentistry."
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