Memories and Testimonies
When accusing someone of a crime, the prosecutor or plaintiff relies on 4 types of evidence in order to prove the person guilty of the crime. These include anecdotal evidence, testimonial evidence, statistical evidence, and analogical evidence. Anecdotal evidence is evidence that uses counterexamples to disprove a general statement (Seech 1). Statistical evidence is evidence from analysis, usually using the scientific method and experimentation (Seech 3). Analogical evidence is evidence that comes from comparing an incident or experience to a situation that allows the jury and judge to undertsand the situation better.Testimonial evidence is evidence coming from witness testimonies (Seech 2). This is one of the strongest forms of evidence. Witness testimonies are one of the most common ways used to convict people of crimes. However, how useful can they be? Studies have shown from time to time that human memory is not like a recorder, where you can just play back any memory clearly. Problems in testimonial evidence, especially eyewitness misidentification, have lead to many wrongful convictions. A study done by graduate student Arye Rattner from Ohio State University in 1983 caused him to conclude that about 0.5% of people arrested and charged for the F.B.I.'s indexed crimes are wongfully convicted (Loftus and Ketcham 38). Another article by renowned psychologists Dr. Elizabeth Loftus and Katherine Ketcham estimated that using Rattner's percentage, about 8,500 people are wrongully convicted every year (Loftus and Ketcham 38). Though this seems like a small number and it is an estimate, those people are getting punished for crimes they did not commit! And many of them are convicted due to eyewitness misidentification, as that is one of the most common causes of wrongful convictions. In this study, we will be trying to look at the accuracy of witness testimonies during a duration of time. But before we start, there are terms that must be known in order to fully understand how witness testimonies can become inaccurate.

The Validity of Testimonies