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Eyewitness testimony may be convincing, but is it reliable

Matthew T. Mangino

For decades eyewitness identification was considered the gold standard when it came to evidence used to gain a conviction.

Matthew T. Mangino

In the famous courtroom drama “12 Angry Men,” rated by the American Bar Association as one of the 25 greatest legal movies of all time, juror No. 8, played by Henry Fonda, earnestly advocated for a not-guilty verdict.

Fonda started out as the only not-guilty vote. The turning point of the deliberations occurred when an older juror recalled that the state’s prized eyewitness, who had observed the murder through her window as she laid in bed, had red marks on her nose left from wearing eyeglasses. The older juror asked a reserved bespectacled juror, “Do you wear your glasses when you go to bed?” The bespectacled juror responded, “No, I don’t. No one wears eyeglasses to bed.”

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