- Hardcover: 240 pages
- Publisher: St. Martin's Press (January 15, 2005)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1403964300
- ISBN-13: 978-1403964304
- Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1 x 9.6 inches
- Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 9 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,879,400 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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True Witness: Cops, Courts, Science, and the Battle against Misidentification Hardcover – December 23, 2004
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“Jim Doyle's new book, True Witness, could not have come at a more opportune time to help inform and shape the growing and intensifying national debate about the value and reliability of eye witness identification testimony. A factual story that reads like fiction, not like an academic treatise, Doyle's book will attract and hold the attention of people on all sides of this important issue. Prosecutors, defense attorneys, police investigators, jurists and the public cannot help but benefit from exposure to True Witness.” ―William J. Bratton, Chief of Police, Los Angeles, and former Police Commissioner of New York City and Boston
“True Witness moves like a novel as it provides the reader with real people facing enormous odds against the flaws of eye witness identification, yet often emerging victorious. Any reader who is fascinated with the criminal justice system will love this work -- cheering for the innocent as well as those who catch the guilty. You cannot put this book down.” ―Rikki Klieman, Trial Attorney, Today Show Legal Analyst and Court TV Anchor
“As someone who has been in the forefront of the battle against mistaken identification, I can say that Doyle has captured the tensions and challenges, the characters and the issues, like no one else.” ―Elizabeth Loftus, co-author of Witness for the Defense and The Myth of Repressed Memory
“Anyone who is interested in knowing why eyewitnesses make mistakes -- the single greatest cause of wrongful convictions and how best to prevent those errors should buy this very readable book.” ―Barry Scheck, Cardozo Law School, Co-Director, The Innocence Project
“Doyle's work is a gem, its words fly by, its message sinks in deeply–how to avoid convicting the innocent and letting the guilty go free. His tale of colorful characters, memorable cases, three-cornered battles among police, prosecutors and defenders produces a singular insight into how, in the real world, we can make things better. Where we have failed for years, James Doyle shows us how we may finally succeed.” ―James B. Zagel , United States District Judge, Former Director, Illinois State Police
About the Author
James M. Doyle is a veteran litigator, the leading legal authority on eyewitness testimony and the coauthor, with Elizabeth Loftus, of Eyewitness Testimony: Civil and Criminal, "The Bible" for lawyers. He lives in Brookline, Massachusetts.
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For almost 100 years, psychologists have been warning that the legal system's assumptions about eyewitnesses are flawed. Harvard professor Hugo Musterberg's first book on the subject written in 1908 prompted a vigorous backlash from Dean John Henry Wigmore, author of the widely used treatise on evidence. Since then, Musterberg and Wigmore's successors have struggled over the place of psychological research on perception and memory in the courtroom. Doyle's book traces that struggle, focusing on the major personalities, and on the cases of the wrongfully convicted. The primary focus is the psychologists, but jurists, prosecutors, defense attorneys, police officers, and politicians are all included.
Primarily useful as a history and discussion of policy. The 10 pages of endnotes are an excellent guide for readers interested in futher details.
Professor Doyle, a colleague of mine at Roger Williams University School of Law, presents a detailed history of the intersection of science (psychology) and law (eyewitness identification), and his up-to-date observations drive home the need for furthering both.
Not content with presenting simply a "story," an "exposé," or an analysis of things gone wrong, Doyle delivers a compelling argument for change in the way eyewitness identifications are handled by police and employed by prosecutors as evidence for juries to consider. As a veteran criminal litigator, Doyle has truly "been there" - a fact that lends a considerable dose of authenticity to this argument.
Written at a level accessible to any reader for whom this book would be of interest (students and practitioners of law, criminology, forensic psychology, for example), the book is, as U.S. District Court Judge James Zagel claims on the back cover, "a gem."
Read Doyle's story and decide for yourself if you are being fair to your eye witness identifications or if you are just doing it "the way it's always been done around here."
If you found new ammunition for your duty pistol that improved the accuracy of every round fired by at least 50%, would you continue to carry the same old duty ammo?
When life-saving resources are at your disposal, don't leave them in the trunk.
I would make it "assigned reading".