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Flashcards in Exam 3 Deck (54):

What is the background of eyewitness testimony?

estimated 4500 innocent people are convicted each year because of mistaken eyewitness ID


What is Unconscious transference?

- refers to the creation of memory that is related to an incident, but is not relevant to that actual incident. (other influences on transference include stress, the physical condition of the witness, suggestive ID procedures, and conformity).
- Buckhout: expert, research on perception and memory suggests any eyewitness reports should be evaluated cautiously and skeptically.


What is the cognitive interview?

- CI. Is an example of a prime system variable allowing for accurate eyewitness statements.

- incorporates the social-psychological aspects of face to face verbal interaction with what psychologist knew about the way people remember things.

- facilitates the exchange of info between the witness and interviewer through effective communication.

- interviewer can then probe for details using open ended questions and follow up to clarify what the witness has said.


Describe a simultaneously-presented lineup.

- in a typical lineup, the eyewitness sees the suspect and the foils simultaneously

- eyewitness will make a relative judgement (even if the actual suspect is not shown, a positive ID will be made because someone in the group will look most like the culprit).


Describe a sequentially-presented lineup

- a situation in which the members of the line up are presented sequentially, one at a time.

- eyewitness compares each member to their memory of the perpetrator and decides whether any person in the lineup is the suspect. This is absolutely judgment process


What is Voir Dire?

- the lawyers for each side survey the jury regarding knowledge about sources of eyewitness unreliability. Ability of jurors to differentiate accurate from inaccurate eyewitnesses. & the probabilistic nature of perception, storage, and retrieval of information.


What is an expert witness?

- Expert witness may be asked to comment on reliability of eyewitness testimony, the construction and composition of lineups and many other topics.

- should be prepared to discuss the strengths and weaknesses of the data on which they baes their opinion.


what is a cross-examination? (of an expert witness)

- cross-examination is the means by which opposing counsel will attach the expert witness's assessments and opinions to the greatest extent possible.

- the most commonly implemented safeguard against erroneous conviction resulting from mistaken ID. (attorney should first read the deposition taken of the expert witness in the case & should research whether the expert witness has published any documents that may contradict his opinion in the case at hand)


When it comes to the importance placed on eyewitness testimony, jurors _____

often change their verdict as a result


What are the 3 different perspectives of confessions?

Religion, psychotherapy and criminal law.


Confessions in perspective: religion

confession in religion is a mechanism by which adherents acknowledge and disclose their transgressions. Purposes are to cleanse the individual's soul and to deter future wrongdoing in the religious community.


Confessions in perspective: psychotherapy

The idea that expressing feelings is healing and restorative, while bottling up or suppressing them is unhealthy, because a widely held belief in certain periods of psychological thought.

It is still common for psychologists to provide relief to patients by having them talk about and "relive" previously suppressed hurt and traumas.


Confessions in perspective: criminal law

American courts have developed guidelines for the admission of confession evidence at trial.

In any case with disputed confession, a preliminary hearing is held so that a judge can determine whether the confession was voluntary and, thereby, admissible as evidence.


What is interrogative suggestibility?

Individuals are more prone to false confessions due to social isolation and high anxiety levels during interrogations, generalized poor self-esteem, unassertiveness, and especially low levels of intelligence.


What is the rational choice theory?

posits the same suspects falsely confess because interrogations convince them that confessing is the most rational choice.

Can occur when suspect believes that the police have strong evidence and that confessing is the only way to avoid severe punishment.


What is the Miranda Case?

A person questioned while in custody must be warned of their civil rights (anything can be used against them in a court of law, entitled to a lawyer, & an attorney will be appointed if one cannot be afforded)


Ernesto Miranda, the original Miranda Case suspect, ended up having his confession __

overturned by the court


What are the different types of competencies?

1. Competency to make a contract
2. Competency to make a will
3. Competency to decide regarding treatment
4. Competency in he criminal justice system


Competency to make a contract

for a contract to be valid and enforceable the parties must be capable of understanding their mutual obligations.

(minors are deemed by the law to have a diminished capacity to contract)


Competency to make a will

wills are contested after the person's death and a forensic autopsy determines capacity when the will was signed. Requires a careful review of medical, psychiatric, nursing home, pharmacy, and other relevant records to reconstruct mental state prior to death.


Competency to decide regarding treatment

informed consent is the process by which a fully informed patient can participate in choices about his/her health care. Understanding proposed intervention, risk and benefits of the intervention and the patient's knowledge of the proposed treatment. Much be competent for consent to be valid.

*Cohen et al. (2004) depressed subjects were 6 times more likely to decline participation in a pharm., trial and 1.4 times more likely to decline participation in a functional neuroimaging study.


Competency in he criminal justice system

in criminal cases, the capacity to comprehend legal proceedings, communicate with an attorney, and to understand and wave certain rights, are the issues that determine competency.


What is parens patriae authority?

The state's authority operates as the guardian of all those who cannot care for themselves.


What are the constitutional issues and standards of care?

1. Right to liberty
2. Right to safety
3. Right to treatment
4. Right to a least restrictive alternative


Right to liberty

the center of all the rights relating to patients. State confinement. Basis for lawsuits claiming false imprisonment, negligence or infliction of harm. Competency is important based on Due Process Clause of the 14th amendment.


Right to safety

involuntary committed residents of state mental health institutions have a constitutional right to safe conditions of confinement, freedom from unreasonable bodily restraints and habilitation.


Right to treatment

"individualized right to treatment" geared to the particular patient. *OConnor v. Donaldson (1975) right to treatment challenge appeared in US Supreme Court which established the guidelines.


Right to a least restrictive alternative

"individualized right to treatment" included movement of residents of mental institutions from: more to less structured living arrangements, larger to smaller facilities and/or living units, group to individual residences, segregation from the community to integration into the community, and dependent or independent living

(The Supreme Court embraced the limited right of being allowed to live safely in the community with the assistance of family).


What are competency evaluations?

between 2% and 8% of all felony defendants are referred for competency evaluations.

Psych. Professionals look for the presence or absence of psychosis when assessing in defendant's competency.

Someone who is mentally ill is not necessarily incompetent.


What is the Durham Test

The "irresistible impulse" definition allowed an insanity defense to be raised on the grounds that the person knew the nature of his actions and knew it was wrong. The person's mental disability, however, resulted in an overpowering compulsion which did not allow the individual to resist the actions be undertaken.


How do trial requirements relate to the constitution?

a juror can be constitutionally excused when he/she would never vote for the death penalty


Describe the Federal Jury Selection Act

guaranteed that jury pools be made up of a representative cross- section of the community.

Must be: a US citizen, at least 18 years old, reside primarily in the judicial district for 1 year, able to read write and speak English with sufficient mastery, physically and mentally capable of service, and never have been convicted of a felony.


What are the different types of challenges an attorney can use regarding a particular juror?

ineligible to serve due to statutory requirements, has a mental or physical disability that interferes with ability to serve, had recently served, had previous felony convictions, had a relationship with or is related to one of the parties in the cases of their attorneys, may be impartial or biased.


Authoritarian personalities

To people with authoritarian personalities criminal defendants represent individuals who have rejected the rules of society.


What are the stages of keeping information in memory?

encoding, storage, & retrieval


Encoding (forming memories)

refers to the acquisition of information. As the complexity of an event increases, some portions of the event will be wrongly remembered. Extreme stress usually causes a person to encode the info incompletely or inaccurately.


Storage (forming memories)

the second step in building memory. Early memory loss is rapid. Activities that eyewitnesses carry out or information they learn after they observe an event can alter their memory of the event.


Retrieval (forming memories)

the final stage of the memory process and involves the recall of info from the memory storage. Recall may be influenced by the types of questions asked.


Estimator variables

attributes of the [person and the environment. EX fatigue, lighting, or stress


System variables

those things inherent to the justice system. EX the manner in which eyewitnesses are interviewed by the police and how eyewitnesses are instructed prior to viewing a lineup.


Describe a double-blind lineup

the person who administers the lineup should not be aware of which lineup member is the suspect and which members are not.


Describe trial simulation

participants are asked to assume the role of jurors while reading a written summary of a trial, hearing audio simulation, or viewing a video simulation.


What is the influence of psychological perspective?

some theorist believe that false statements originate from an unconscious need to confess and be punished.


Voluntary false confessions

are self-incriminating statements that are purposefully offered in the absence of pressure by the police. (several reasons for individuals doing this, ex "a morbid desire for notoriety")


Coerced-compliant false confessions

occur when suspects confess, due to extreme methods of police interrogations.

Can be due to torture, threats, and false promises. The technique of "brainwashing" used on prisoners of war, falls into the category.


Coerced-internalized false confession

occur when suspects who are innocent actually come to believe that they commit a crime. Can be caused by anxiety, fatigue, pressure, confusing of highly suggestive methods of police interrogation.



When the interrogator tries to frighten the suspect by exaggerating the evidence available, legal consequences, or stating that the interrogator knows the suspect is guilty.


Competent person

A competen person is one who has sufficient mental and physical capacity to engage some legally significant act.


Competency being restored against a defendant's will

- Incarcerated individuals have a reduced right to reduced unwanted medical treatment. Courts have held that in prisons the rights of the state must be balanced with the prisoner's right to refuse treatment.

- 2 scenarios involving restoration: 1. An incompetent criminal defendant awaits trial and, without restoration of competency, may be incarcerated indefinitely until competency returns. 2. A defendant is sentenced to death but later is deemed incompetent to be executed and the state seeks to restore competency through forced medication - solely to execute the prisoner.


Trial competency and criminal responsibility

trial competency: the former refers to current ability to understand and participate in the trial process. The latter refers to one's state of mind at the time of the alleged crime.

Ex: a person may be psychotic during a crime but non-psychotic while standing trial. This is different from criminal responsibility.


Sexually violent predator commitment

Sex offenders deemed too dangerous to release from prison are confined. These laws share 4 basic elements and to be committed an individual must:
1. Have some mental disorder
2. The disorder must cause misconduct
3. The misconduct must accompany an elevated risk of future sexual transgression
4. The purpose of commitment is treatment.


what are the difference sizes of federal cases and criminal trials?

- in federal criminal cases, a jury must have 12 members
- in criminal trials in state courts can use as few as 6 members


Burden of proof

- in criminal cases: is beyond a reasonable doubt, and this is the highest possible burden of proof.

- in civil cases: is a preponderance of the evidence where the plaintiff much only prove that it is more likely than not that the defendant is liable. ** the common law requires a unanimous jury verdict in criminal trials.


How may attractiveness influence verdicts?

In personal injury suits, jurors award more money to attractive plaintiffs that to unattractive plaintiffs.

& Attractive defendants charged with killing pedestrians while driving intoxicated received more lenient sentences than did unattractive defendants.