There are few things more horrifying than being convicted for a crime you didn’t commit. Unfortunately, this does happen sometimes.
During a criminal case, numerous pieces of evidence will be brought forward for consideration. DNA, CCTV footage and eyewitness testimony are just some of the key pieces of evidence that might be used.
Sadly, eyewitnesses don’t always get it right, and the consequences of this in a criminal case can be devastating. Did false memories play a part in your conviction?
The role of confirmation bias
Nobody wants to be the victim of a crime or even witness a crime occurring. If this does happen, then it’s only natural to want someone to pay for what they have done. This is generally the mindset of both victims and witnesses alike. Victims know they have suffered and witnesses know that they have seen something. They’re also aware that you have been identified as a suspect. When faced with the prospect of gaining perceived justice or letting you walk free, it’s likely that they will want the former to occur, even if they are unsure of the details.
The police are also subjected to confirmation bias. They have a crime to solve and they’ve identified you as their key suspect. Often, investigations will take place with the aim of finding evidence against you rather than getting to the truth.
The memory can be hazy
People might be of the opinion that the memory works like a video camera, capturing every detail with the possibility of rewinding and viewing it all again. This is not how memory works though. Yes, key events might be remembered but there are usually blanks that have to be filled in. By the time a criminal case reaches court, which is often months or even years, it’s possible that the memory of a witness is really not that accurate at all.
If you’ve been convicted of a crime you didn’t commit, then this is not the end of the road. You may have a legitimate route open to make an appeal. To do this successfully, you’re going to need some experienced legal guidance behind you.