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
Date Written: March 20, 2013
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.
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