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Forensic Fridays Addresses Problems, Advances In Eyewitness Identification

Issues surrounding eyewitness identification will conclude the Wecht Institute’s Forensic Fridays series for the season. Problems and Advances in Eyewitness Identification will be presented on Friday, June 3, from 1 to 4:30 p.m. in Room 204 of the law school.

“Along with fingerprint evidence, eyewitness identification has long been considered the ‘smoking gun’ in criminal cases,” said Ben Wecht, program administrator for the Wecht Institute. “But as the exonerations of wrongfully convicted felons over the past two decades has demonstrated time and again, eyewitness identification is actually one of the least reliable forms of evidence, often putting innocent people in prison while leaving the real criminals free to commit more crimes.

“From flaws in the way memory functions, to procedural errors in the way victims are asked to help identify perpetrators, to the absence of good science to support it in court, eyewitness identification is a much-questioned investigative and legal methodology today,” Wecht added.

The seminar will feature forensic psychology experts Sheila Seelau and Susan Goldberg, and attorney and former homicide prosecutor Chris Conrad, who will explore the science, law, ethics and public policy ramifications of the way eyewitness identification is used to convict criminals.

Problems and Advances in Eyewitness Identification is approved by the Pennsylvania CLE Board for two hours of substantive credit and one hour of ethics credit. The cost is $30 per person for the general public, $10 for students, $75 for private attorneys and $45 for public attorneys. To register and for more information, visit www.duq.edu/forensics or contact the Wecht Institute at 412.396.1330 or wechtinstitute@duq.edu.

Duquesne University

Founded in 1878, Duquesne is consistently ranked among the nation's top Catholic research universities for its award-winning faculty and tradition of academic excellence. The University is nationally ranked by U.S. News and World Report and the Princeton Review for its rich academic programs in nine schools of study for nearly 10,000 graduate and undergraduate students, and by the Washington Monthly for service and contributing to students' social mobility. Duquesne is a member of the U.S. President's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll with Distinction for its contributions to Pittsburgh and communities around the globe. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Princeton Review's Guide to Green Colleges acknowledge Duquesne's commitment to sustainability.