Adams’ lawyer said the state didn’t want to convict a young boy with his whole life ahead of him. They were much more willing to convict an older outsider. How do these considerations (of age, identity) play a role in convictions? Are there ever justifications for falsely sentencing a man to death? If not, is it at least understandable? Many countries set age of criminal responsibility at which juveniles become liable to the penalties of law. In the countries that use the death penalty, it is not permitted for a person who was less than 18 years old at the time of the crime although they commit adult enough crimes.
On the average, juvenile offenders are sentenced less severely than adults who commit similar crimes because they are considered to be less mature and blameworthy and have greater capacity for reform. In addition, more serious sentences are given to offenders who have little education, low incomes and hold inferior jobs or no jobs than similar offenders who are well educated with good jobs. This means judgment is, to a greater or lesser extent, susceptible to bias. In any cases, however, it cannot be justified to sentence an innocent person to death.
It is not understandable at least to execute wrongfully convicted people because mistake in judgment cannot be corrected and justice system cannot make the person come back to life after death. Most of the prosecution’s case rested on eyewitness testimony. Is this enough evidence to convict a man? Was there any other evidence to support or refute the testimony? To what extent should or can eye witness testimony be used in court cases? Eyewitness testimony is not enough evidence to convict a suspect. First of all, people’s memories are not very accurate.
Not only can people miss some details in a scene but can also recall what never occurred. Therefore, Testimony should never be regarded as reliable evidence. Even if people are telling you what they sincerely believe to be the truth, it is always possible that they could be mistaken. In addition to this, eyewitness can give false testimony, just like what happened to Adams. One of eyewitnesses, Emily Miller pointed Adams out in court as the man who was at the scene, though she initially told police that the man she had seen appeared to be Mexican or a light-skinned African American.
And a robbery charge dealt by the same judge against her daughter was dropped after her testimony. It is obvious that she is an interested witness. This shows us that relying completely on eyewitness testimony to resolve court cases is extremely risky. It should be supported by any other physical evidence like fibers, DNA and fingerprints to prove the truth of the case and not to lead wrongful conviction. How does the testimony of Teresa Turko (the murdered police officer’s partner) change over time? What causes this? Which of her accounts should be believed, if any?
What does this say about the nature of human memory? Teresa Turko testified in court that she had not seen the killer clearly, but that his hair was the color of Adams’s. She also said that the killer wore a coat with a fur collar. Harris had such a coat, but Adams did not. She, however, said that she had not seen the killer under the state of hypnosis. She provides inconsistent testimony because over time, her memory has changed and has been distorted by her expectations. Under Texas state law, Harris is ineligible for the death penalty because he is a minor.
Adams is the only one against whom she could give vent to her anger. Her memory is distorted to fit with the unconscious wish to revenge on her husband’s death, she has illusory memory of the suspect’s hair color. Our memories do not correspond directly to reality. They are determined by our expectation and emotional states. Therefore, her testimony derived from hypnotic examination is accurate and reliable because hypnotized state enable people to be in a flat emotional state. Trial by fire How do the eyewitness accounts in this case change over time? Why do they change?
What does this suggest about perception, emotion and reason. How do these three interact in this case? To what extent should or can we trust perception, emotion and reason in the criminal justice system? Should or can we put more emphasis on or more weight on one over the others? According to the initial firefighters’ reports, Willingham was so hysterical and Father Monaghan, a policeman chaplain, reported that Willingham was devastated and risked his life to go into the burning house. After Willingham became the prime suspect, their testimony changed.
They testified against him, saying that he had not appeared very concerned. Diane Barbee, a neighbor said that he could have gone back to rescue his children and did not, saying that there had not been a lot of smoke. Monaghan said that Willingham was in complete control. This suggests that our perceptions are not entirely determined by what our senses detect. They are also determined by what we expect and what we believe. Perception is dependent upon expectation and emotional states. Therefore, testimony should never be regarded as reliable evidence.