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Forensic Fridays Addresses Problems, Advances In Eyewitness Identification

Issues surrounding eyewitness identification will conclude the Wecht Institute’s Forensic Fridays series for the season. Problems and Advances in Eyewitness Identification will be presented on Friday, June 3, from 1 to 4:30 p.m. in Room 204 of the law school.

“Along with fingerprint evidence, eyewitness identification has long been considered the ‘smoking gun’ in criminal cases,” said Ben Wecht, program administrator for the Wecht Institute. “But as the exonerations of wrongfully convicted felons over the past two decades has demonstrated time and again, eyewitness identification is actually one of the least reliable forms of evidence, often putting innocent people in prison while leaving the real criminals free to commit more crimes.

“From flaws in the way memory functions, to procedural errors in the way victims are asked to help identify perpetrators, to the absence of good science to support it in court, eyewitness identification is a much-questioned investigative and legal methodology today,” Wecht added.

The seminar will feature forensic psychology experts Sheila Seelau and Susan Goldberg, and attorney and former homicide prosecutor Chris Conrad, who will explore the science, law, ethics and public policy ramifications of the way eyewitness identification is used to convict criminals.

Problems and Advances in Eyewitness Identification is approved by the Pennsylvania CLE Board for two hours of substantive credit and one hour of ethics credit. The cost is $30 per person for the general public, $10 for students, $75 for private attorneys and $45 for public attorneys. To register and for more information, visit www.duq.edu/forensics or contact the Wecht Institute at 412.396.1330 or wechtinstitute@duq.edu.

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