Imagine That You Are An Absolutely Unscrupulous District Attorney Willing To Do 1

“Imagine that you are an absolutely unscrupulous district attorney, willing to do anything—including convicting an innocent person – in order to get a conviction in a particularly notorious criminal case. (i.e., you don’t much care who is convicted – guilty or innocent – so long as you get a conviction of someone). You have two witnesses to the crime – a murder during the robbery of an all-night diner – but neither is very confident of being able to identify the killer. What could you do to influence those witnesses so that they will not only identify someone as the killer, but also testify confidently (you are not concerned about whether they testify accurately) that person is the killer and that the murder was a particularly brutal one.” (Ch 16, p. 309)

Initial Post: Your initial post should be at minimum 250 words.  It should be posted by Thursday.   In your post accomplish the following:  Describe steps you would take, from the first steps of “identification” to the day of the trial. [Chapter 16 is your guide]


Reply to Others: Reply to at least one student that has not had more than two replies.   Your reply should be at minimum 250 words.  Pretend you are the assistant district attorney and you are equally unscrupulous.   You will further the district attorney (i.e., student’s) response by suggesting how to construct false causal claims that will support the steps outlined by the district attorney. [Chapter 15 is your guide).


If I were trying to influence two witnesses in order to make a convection there are multiple steps I would take to get a false convection. The first step would be to follow the “Photo-Bias” experiment done at the University of Nebraska. I would show the witness multiple videos of people who look like a particular suspect and then place that suspects mug shot in front of them. After doing this I would later have the witnesses look at a lineup containing the suspect and they would be bound to pick them out. Witnesses seeing these photos and multiple videos would cause an unconscious transference resulting in them identifying in a line up the suspects who’s mugshot they saw. Next, I would have the witness pick from a line up but in that line up I would have someone who works at the all night diner. This would cause an unconscious transference because odds are they would recognize them from just eating at the dinner while that person was working. Which would most likely result in a false identification. Then I would move on to creating a prejudice with the witness for someone in the lineup. I would tell them negative stories about them and say they are capable of doing a crime like this to help the witness connect them to the crime. Finally, I would ask the witnesses questions that helped fill in the fuzzy details of the murder and robbery with details I needed to make a convection. With a play on words I would ask questions that make suggestions about the person I needed to convict. Such as does the person have hair similar to the one picked from a line up. Does the person have the same build and skin tone as the one from the line up. Questions like these would help the witness make a false id and help me get a convection. 

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