By John Wixted and Patricia A. Riley
1:30 AM on Sep 19, 2020 CDT
Eyewitness testimony is reliable, but only under specific circumstances
Charles Don Flores is on death row in Texas, where he was convicted as an accomplice to a murder committed in 1998. If the U.S. Supreme Court does not intervene, his execution date may soon be set. Why are we telling you this? Because Flores was convicted not on the basis of any physical evidence tying him to the crime but largely on the confident testimony of a single eyewitness.
“Aha,” you may now be thinking, “this is an injustice because eyewitness memory is unreliable.” Well, no, not quite. What researchers and prosecutors like us have learned since Flores filed his final state appeal in 2016 (which was recently denied), is that eyewitness memory is, in fact, highly reliable — if the identification is made with high confidence the first time the suspect is presented to the witness. [Read More in Dallas News]