What the Brain Saw: The Case of Trayvon Martin and the Need for Eyewitness Identification Reform

17 Pages Posted: 27 Apr 2015 Last revised: 2 Apr 2019

See all articles by Valena Elizabeth Beety

Valena Elizabeth Beety

Arizona State University (ASU) - Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law

Date Written: March 20, 2013

Abstract

The shooting of Trayvon Martin has caused many to question what exactly led to the death of an unarmed seventeen-year-old African-American teenager. This essay provides at least one answer: the brain in creating and preserving memories can distort one's perception of events and people. In the courtroom, eyewitness testimony can be the most powerful and riveting information for a jury – and yet can contain that same inaccuracy of perception and memory. Bringing these two separate but connected insights together, this essay examines the role of memory and perception in the death of Trayvon Martin, along with eyewitness identification in criminal cases, ultimately calling for broad reform in our criminal justice system.

Suggested Citation

Beety, Valena Elizabeth, What the Brain Saw: The Case of Trayvon Martin and the Need for Eyewitness Identification Reform (March 20, 2013). Denver University Law Review, Vol. 90:2, 2012, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2081921 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2081921

Valena Elizabeth Beety (Contact Author)

Arizona State University (ASU) - Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law ( email )

Box 877906
Tempe, AZ 85287-7906
United States

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