Conviction of the Innocent: Lessons From Psychological Research
Over the last several decades over 250 citizens convicted of major felonies were found innocent and were exonerated. Today, thanks to the work of psychologists and other criminal justice researchers, the psychological foundations that underlie conviction of the innocent are becoming clear. There is real hope that these findings can lead to positive reforms, reduce the risk of miscarriages of justice, and avoid the consequences of wrongful convictions to victims and society.
In this book, editor Brian Cutler presents a state-of-the-field review of current psychological research on conviction of the innocent. Chapter authors investigate how the roles played by suspects, investigators, eyewitnesses, and trial witnesses and how pervasive systemic issues contribute to conspire to increase the risk of conviction of the innocent.
The chapters skillfully examine psychological perspectives on such topics as police interrogations, confessions, eyewitness identification, trial procedures, juries, and forensic science, as well as broader issues such as racism and tunnel vision within the justice system.
This comprehensive volume represents an important milestone for research on miscarriages of justice. By bringing psychological theories and research to bear on this social problem, the authors derive compelling recommendations for future research and practical reform in police and legal procedures.
Introduction: The Problem of Conviction of the Innocent
Brian L. Cutler
I. The Suspects
- At-Risk Populations Under Investigation and at Trial
Robert J. Norris and Allison D. Redlich
II. The Investigators
- Detecting Deception
- False Confessions
Lisa E. Hasel and Saul M. Kassin
- Procedural Justice Evaluations in Interrogations
Diane Sivasubramaniam and Larry Heuer
III. The Eyewitnesses
- Fallible Eyewitness Memory and Identification
- Suggestive Eyewitness Identification Procedures
David M. Zimmerman, Jacqueline L. Austin, and Margaret Bull Kovera
- Eyewitness Confidence Malleability
Amy Bradfield Douglass and Afton Pavletic
- Why Do Motions to Suppress Suggestive Eyewitness Identifications Fail?
Gary L. Wells, Sarah M. Greathouse, and Laura Smalarz
- Jurors Believe Eyewitnesses
Carolyn Semmler, Neil Brewer, and Amy Bradfield Douglass
IV. The Trial Witnesses
- Unreliable Informant Testimony
Jeffrey S. Neuschatz, Nicholaos Jones, Stacy A. Wetmore, and Joy McClung
- Alibi Witnesses
Tara M. Burke and Stéphanie B. Marion
- Psychological Perspectives on Problems With Forensic Science Evidence
Itiel E. Dror and Rebecca Bucht
V. Pervasive Issues
- Race and Racism
Ellen S. Cohn, Donald Bucolo, and Samuel R. Sommers
- Tunnel Vision
Keith A. Findley
VI. The Exonerated
- Life After Wrongful Conviction
Kimberley A. Clow, Amy-May Leach, and Rosemary Ricciardelli
Brian L. Cutler
About the Editor
Brian L. Cutler, PhD, received his doctorate in social psychology in 1987 from the University of Wisconsin–Madison. He is a professor in the Faculty of Social Science and Humanities at the University of Ontario Institute of Technology (UOIT), Oshawa, Ontario, Canada. Prior to joining UOIT's faculty, Dr. Cutler served on the psychology faculties at Florida International University and the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.
Dr. Cutler has been conducting research on the psychology of eyewitness identification and its role in conviction of the innocent for more than 25 years. His research has been funded by the National Science Foundation.
In addition to this volume, he has authored and edited three books and more than 60 book chapters and research articles about the psychology of eyewitness identification. His research has been cited in court cases, the media, other research, and psychology textbooks. In addition, Dr. Cutler has served as editor of the journal Law and Human Behavior, and he is currently president of the American Psychology-Law Society (Division 41, APA).
In collaboration with his students and other eyewitness scientists, Dr. Cutler continues to maintain an active research program, focusing on eyewitness identification. He teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in various aspects of psychology, criminology, research methods, and writing for the social sciences.
In this tightly focused and unified book, Editor Brian Cutler has brought together top researchers in their respective fields to explore the current state of psychological sciences as it applies to wrongful convictions.
—Journal of Forensic Sciences