Segments in this Video

Witness Identifies Christopher Scott (03:01)


Every day, thousands of suspects are identified by eyewitnesses. Of the DNA exonerated cases, 70% involved an eyewitness. Scott's case is one of the hundreds that have been re-investigated by the Dallas County DA's office; hear about the night he is arrested.

George Toca Serving Life Sentence (04:12)

In 1984, Eric Batiste was killed during the course of a robbery; two eyewitnesses identify Toca from a photo lineup. Toca is found guilty of murder in 1985. His sister and the victim's aunt believe he is innocent.

Penny Test (03:41)

Jennifer E. Dysart says eyewitnesses are wrong 30% of the time. Joe Berlinger fails to identify the real penny. There is no mandate to tell eyewitnesses that the suspect may not be in the police lineup.

Inconsistencies in George Toca's Case (04:16)

Hear courtroom audio of the prosecutor and witness on April 15, 1985. Toca talks to family about evidence of his innocence during a weekly phone call. Emily Maw believes the state suppressed efforts for a new trial.

Eyewitness Identification Experiment: Suspect Description (04:17)

After witnessing a pretend computer theft, students give conflicting descriptions of the suspect. Hear the description that was used to identify Scott. Scott discusses racial bias.

Eyewitness Identification Experiment: Six-Pack Lineup (03:28)

Most police departments use a page of six pictures when asking a witness to ID a suspect. Dysar explains why this is a bad technique. The New Orleans police department is known for outdated tactics, which contributed to Toca's conviction.

Inducing a Witness (02:21)

In this experiment, subtle pressure causes the witness to begin changing her identification decision. Scott recalls learning that he faced life in prison or death, how unreal it felt, and listening to the prosecutor lead the eyewitness.

Corruption in the Police Department (04:01)

Sandy Muse recalls learning that her friend kept information from her that might have cleared her brother. In March of 2011, the findings of a two year investigation revealed that the New Orleans police practiced excessive force and failed to report or investigate it.

Conviction Integrity Unit (02:56)

Scott recalls learning that Craig Watkins is the new Dallas D.A.; he is the first African American D.A. Watkins creates a special unit to reexamine case files; six men are cleared through DNA evidence.

First Non-DNA Exoneration (04:11)

Watkins risks his career and the Integrity Unit to investigate Scott's case. Attorney Michelle Moore discusses the confession that led to Scott's freedom.

House of Renewed Hope (02:07)

Scott and Claude Simmons are exonerated. Scott used his $1 million settlement to open a clothing store and help other exonerated inmates.

Changing Dallas' Witness Identification Procedures (03:41)

Intense public pressure prompts the Dallas police department to update outmoded procedures. Former Assistant Police Chief Ron Waldrop helped to spearhead the changes, beginning with embracing findings by researchers like Jennifer Dysart.

Post-conviction Hearing (03:28)

After 25 years behind bars, Toca is granted a hearing to present new evidence in a New Orleans criminal court. Judge Julian Parker hears from four new witnesses and receives nine affidavits. Parker ends the hearing after suggesting the witnesses were paid and part of a conspiracy.

Credits: Eyewitness Identification: The System with Joe Berlinger (00:04)

Credits: Eyewitness Identification: The System with Joe Berlinger

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Eyewitness Identification: The System with Joe Berlinger

Part of the Series : The System with Joe Berlinger
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In this episode, we’ll explore how the system is grappling with emerging insights into eyewitness science. In Dallas, a man is convicted of capital murder and sentenced to life in prison. The prosecutors relied on eyewitness testimony to convict him. In New Orleans, another man sits in prison convicted of murdering his best friend during a botched armed robbery in 1985. There was no physical evidence tying the suspect to the scene, but two eyewitnesses picked the suspect out of a six-pack photo lineup – a practice that has now been discredited. A convicted murderer is sentenced to life in prison based solely on eyewitness identification, a source of evidence proven to be unreliable.

Length: 47 minutes

Item#: BVL129660

ISBN: 978-1-64023-500-7

Copyright date: ©2015

Closed Captioned

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