How Evidence Collected Early in an Investigation Influences the Collection and Interpretation of Additional Evidence
Evidence collected early in a criminal investigation has been shown to affect the decisions made by criminal investigators, forensic scientists, and witnesses to a crime. The early evidence can spark an array of confirmation biases that affect the collection and interpretation other evidence throughout the investigation. Therefore, one piece of faulty evidence collected early in an investigation can lead to the accumulation of multiple pieces of faulty evidence, which may result in a wrongful conviction. This chapter addresses how distinct pieces evidence collected during an investigation may not be independent of one another. Because of its implications for memory, this chapter largely focuses on how eyewitnesses’ memories can be influenced, leading to the contamination of important evidence that may be presented in a criminal trial. Suggestions are made for decreasing evidentiary interdependence during investigations.
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