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PSY328 police procedures (lecture 3)

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University of Toronto Mississauga
Will Huggon

POLICE PROCEDURES Question • -eye witness misidentification • -troy davis executed for murder of a police officer in 1989 • -convicted on unreliable eyewitness evidence • -7 out of 9 eyewitnesses recanted their decision Eyewitness evidence • -eyewitness testimony isn’t really that bad as long as all the procedures are followed properly • -system variables – the ones we can control • -need to decide these things with no bias Standard interview • -it depends what kind of questions the officer is asking which determines how accurate it will be • -there might be close ended, leading questions which will make it less reliable • -can’t compare without standarization Police interviews 1) another data point about the interviews: 19% were close ended yes/no questions with no follow-up or explanation -both the police and person being interviewed think they know what yes and no means…but sometimes they don’t add up -ex: who thinks men and women should not have equal rights? If you say yes…should men have more rights? Should women have more rights? 2) 70-80% of talking time should be done by witness in an ideal interview without interruption -found that police were talking too much and not enough listening 3) interruptions, changing topics when in the middle of a thought – obstructive style -going to minimize depth and meaningfulness of what the witness is going to say 4) found that police were highly biased -if it was something they didn’t want to hear…they might not write it down -may write down contradictory facts -over the 16 interviews an average of 14 relevant facts per interview that weren’t written down -in 4/16 times the facts that were written down were contradictory to what the witness said 5) even though there were errors….the witness still signed it -just spent 1-2 hours talking to the officer making the assumption that the person recording is going to be accurate because you were sitting there watching them write down everything -plus you’re bored and tired and don’t want to re-read the pages of notes -during the trial it could cause a problem and get confused if there is some contradictory information – “well I signed it….maybe that’s really what happened” Cognitive interview • -not suitable for interrogation – not suitable for a suspect • -works best on witnesses who we assume are telling the truth Cognitive interview (enhanced) 1. Ask witness to mentally reinstate the original context and how they felt of the critical event and imagine yourself and everyone else there…what was everyone doing? What were you thinking? What were your emotions? Visualize surroundings, re-experience your emotions 2. Instead of start to end….What happened last? What happened just before that? And before that? Reverse order or start with memorable event and ask what happened before and after that….or start from middle and go forward • -if start asking questions that is different from how you would normally tell it…you might remember a fact that wasn’t in your usual story 3. Give me any detail (no matter how unimportant) – this could help break the case 4. Might remember a fact that wasn’t remembered before -Not the best one…..get you to imagine being in someone else’s shoes – guessing what they want to hear, don’t really know -might start getting false information and might start getting mixed up between their perspective and someone else’s -source misattribution -making up details and incorporating them into your story 5. Difference between cog interview and cog interview (enhanced) -get them comfortable, ask about their day so they aren’t nervous…attempt to put them at ease – rapport -hopefully be able to remember better when less nervous Cognitive interview (enhanced) • 2. let them talk – if they start getting off topic then gently nudge them back on topic • 3. don’t want to break their train of thought • -compared to the standard interview…increase of detailed correct true information by about 35% where the amount of errors stay the same in the cognitive interview enhanced • -more correct, helpful info in cognitive interview enhanced compared to same amount of unhelpful error in the standard interview • -interrupting someone (especially by an authority figure) is a cue that you are wrong Double blind procedure • -police officer says “great thank you for your time” oh he said ‘great’ I must have picked the right guy  raises confidence which can lower accuracy • -don’t want to comfort the witness while choosing  may give them the feeling that they chose right • -should have a separate officer who is just in charge of line-ups who doesn’t know anything about the case to prevent bias Instructions to the witness • -if you have all the pictures laid out it’s more like “which one looks the most like him” • -present sequentially then you have nothing to compare it to and have to rely on memory • -by showing photos sequentially can get an absolute judgment strategy rather than a relative judgment strategy through all the photos laid out Unbiased lineup 1) suspect has to match description that the witness gives – matching to appearance -red hat (can have different hats as long as they are all red) 2) one that is unusual or standing out….it’s going to stick in your memory -ex: can’t have all black/white photos and one colour photo 3) foils – other people in the lineup -they have to be known and have an alibi -have to know they are innocent in case the witness does pick them….then you’d have to spend time interviewing them if you don’t know if they are innocent -might have the same person in first photo lineup then the police has a second lineup with that same person with 5 different foils…that one guy is going to stand out because he looks familiar “well that guy looks familiar….and I’m in a police station…he must be the guy” -don’t realize that you just saw that person 5 min ago in a previous lineup -yes I’ve seen this guy before but you’ve unconsciously transferred that information from someplace else -source misattribution: can’t remember from where you saw that guy Witness confidence ratings • -take confidence rating at time of identification because after you rehearsing the story your confidence is going to go up • -can discredit a witness as long as you have evidence Blank lineups • -blank lineup is composed of all foils with alibis • -if they were to pick someone out of the blank lineup you know that they aren’t that accurate and that picture in their head might mess up their memory for the second lineup • -credibility goes down since they screwed up on the first lineup and guessed • -if they pick someone from the blank lineup and pick the correct person on the second lineup….now you aren’t sure if they just got a lucky guess Other identification procedures -cold mug shot search “hey come and take a look at all these criminals and see if you recognize any” -labeling these people already as criminals – not going to feel bad if you pick the wrong person because that person is a criminal anyway -wasting time if they do pick another criminal because then they have to do a check on that other known criminal -assuming the criminal is already in there -feel pressured to make a choice -walkthrough procedure - take the witness to a known spot where the suspect hangs out (ex: a bar) and the witness points out the suspect -bias, no lawyer, dangerous to witness because suspect will see them pointing at them -called an Oklahoma lineup because they did it in Oklahoma a lot -composite sketch – sit down with a sketch artist and they will sketch a face as you describe it to them -indenti-kit takes different sketches of eyes, ears, hair, noses, etc but then you can choose the best feature -FACES 4.0 can fill in things such as scars, tattoos, height – computer generated -computer generated eyes, noses, etc -real life pictures of hundreds of eyes, noses, etc and once you have the right features it combines them into a face – photo-fit Interviews with suspects -whipping suspects/stun guns – kept torturing them until the suspect confessed -can promise lenient treatment to some extent – legally confessing to a crime will give you a lesser sentence: 1) admitting guilt and showing remorse Interviews with suspects -assume that when you talk to a witness that they are giving true information and that suspects may be lying -however witnesses can lie and suspects can be telling the truth if they are truly innocent PEACE model • -similar to cognitive interview enhanced but with a few minor changes Planning and preparation • -gather all info and identify the specific areas that you want to talk about beforehand particularly the areas where you are missing information Engage and explain • -ask how are you doing? Would you like some coffee?  make them feel comfortable • -makes suspect think they are freer to talk like they are on his side Account • -problem: lying • -however you are already assuming that they are going to lie - then you can catch them in that
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