Addressing False Eyewitness Testimony in the Courtroom

(3896 Ratings)

Produced on: July 26, 2016

Course Format On Demand Audio

Taught by

Categories:

Course Description

Time 62 minutes
Difficulty Beginner

In May, 2015 a suspect that attacked an NYPD officer with a hammer was shot by police in the middle of the day, on a crowded NYC street. There were many eyewitnesses to the incident. Almost all of the witness reports were incorrect. Several people inaccurately reported that the police officers shot an unarmed man while he was on the ground and handcuffed. The incident was recorded on surveillance video which documents that the suspect attacked one of the officers with a hammer and that officer's partner shot the man. Why is eyewitness memory flawed? How can attorneys use psychology to explore and explain issues common to eyewitness testimony throughout trial? This presentation explores the psychology of memory and techniques specific to addressing these issues starting with jury selection. Particular attention is paid to difficult witnesses including children, the elderly, and victims of sexual assault.

 

Learning Objectives:

I.     Understand the psychology concepts and principles surrounding eyewitness accounts and memory

II.    Apply principles of psychology to effective jury selection

III.   Refine cross examination questioning to address police technique flaws in lineups, interrogation, and investigation

IV.   Understand New Jersey’s approach to jury instructions addressing principles of psychology

V.    Formulate proposed jury instructions to address common principles of psychology for use in other states

VI.   Apply witness memory techniques to depositions and throughout the discovery process

Faculty

Florina Altshiler

Russo & Toner, LLP

Florina Altshiler is a litigation attorney specializing in labor law and premise liability matters. Her practice also includes medical malpractice and general negligence law. Previously, Ms. Altshiler worked as an Assistant District Attorney for the State of Alaska where she handled the prosecution of the highest-level felonies including homicides, sexual assaults and violent felonies through jury trial. She has prosecuted over twenty cases through jury verdict. Prior to working as a prosecutor, Ms. Altshiler honed her litigation skills at nationally recognized law firms in New York City for seven years. She has significant experience in the areas of complex medical malpractice, premises liability and construction accident litigation. 

Ms. Altshiler is the managing attorney for the firm’s Buffalo, NY office.


 Education:

  • J.D. from St. John’s University School of Law, 2005
  • International Studies Certificate from Binghamton University, 2003
  • B.A. in Psychology from Binghamton University, 2002

 Experience:

  • Practicing attorney for over 10 years
  • Litigated cases at the State and Federal level through trial and appeal
  • Over 20 trials through jury verdict as first chair
  • Arbitrator, Civil Court of the City of New York
  • Instructor of Trial Advocacy at Columbia University in the City of New York
  • Adjunct Professor of Trial Advocacy (criminal and civil) at St. John’s School of Law
  • Mock Trial Coach, Anchorage High School

 Admissions:

  • New York State, 2006
  • New Jersey State, 2005
  • Alaska State, 2013
  • United States District Courts of the Southern, Eastern and Western Districts of New York

Honors:

  • Alaska State Legislature Citation
  • Dr. Thomas C. Beneventano Award for Legal Medicine
  • Rosenberg Scholar, St. John’s School of Law
  • Institutional Merit Scholar, St. John’s School of Law
  • 2004 CALI Excellence for the Future Award in Criminal Trial Advocacy
  • U.S. President’s Student Service Award for Outstanding Service to America
  • United Hospital Fund’s Student Achievement Award
  • Rosefsky Language and Culture Scholar, Binghamton University
  • Semi-Finalist, Intel National Science Talent Search
  • Salomon Smith Barney Quality of Life Research Competition
  • New York City Hall Commendation for Research

Presentations:

  • Erie County Bar Association CLE Presenter: Pre-Litigation Statements Qualified Privilege or Defamation? April, 2015
  • Erie County Bar Association CLE Presenter: Intensive (two-day) Trial College, anticipated October, 2015
  • WGRZ-TV: Civil Trial Analysis of the Corasanti trial
  • Contributing writer in Law and Policy to The Public

Reviews

AF
Amy F.

Very informative! Really got me thinking!

AB
Algis B.

She was outstanding !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

CL
Cary L.

Great presentation by a presenter with a full command of the subject matter. Very applicable to my practice. Thanks!

MW
Mark W.

detailed, effective presentation...easy to watch

JK
James K.

good course.....

WW
William W.

excellent

DB
Donald B.

Excellent

RS
Richard S.

Excellent

TK
Thomas E. K.

Outstanding. Should be required viewing for every trial lawyer.

GD
Gary D.

Great discussion of "confirmation bias" and the intrinsic unreliability of eye witness observation under stress.

TD
Terrence D.

Terrific presentation!

RH
Ronna H.

Thank you for this intellectually stimulating presentation. Social and emotional factors create deeper results than logic and memory, and you have pinpointed those factors.

DS
David S.

interesting and well done

GA
George A.

a superb presentation

CB
Christopher B.

One of the more interesting CLE videos

KU
Kimberly U.

Excellent! Florina gave a terrific presentation with great slides. I am extremely impressed.

BS
Benjamin S.

Probably the best CLE I've taken from Lawline.

SK
Stuart K.

Excellent!

SK
Stephen K.

Extremely interesting and very well presented.

PJ
PHILLIP J.

excellent organization and presentation, very professional

CG
Cynthia G.

Excellent presentation.

FM
Frederick M.

Very Good

LP
Lisa P.

EXCELLENT! The instructor was very thorough. She addressed investigation, jury selection, cross examination and jury instructions. The Hammer Case, Cotton Case and the monkey test were great illustrations of false identification. Bravo!

GS
Gail S.

Excellent presentation

MO
Michael O.

The presenter was excellent. Very engaging and informative.

SD
Susan D.

This presentation was simply excellent! I learned new things all the way through it.

LC
Liza C.

This was one of the unexpectedly best programs I've seen...speaker was terrific.

TM
Thomas M.

Excellent presentation.

AV
Andrew V.

Worthwhile subject

SB
Stephen B.

The instructor was excellent.

EW
Elizabeth W.

Excellent presentation! Thank you.

JN
John N.

The speaker was thoroughly familiar with the course materials and presented numerous examples of the points she was making. She emphasized the importance of asking detailed questions to minimize the risk that a witness or a potential juror will be affected by biases, social influences, and the normal frailties of memory that may prejudice the attorney's client.

RL
Robin L.

great video session

RM
randal m.

very nicely presented

JF
JW F.

What a wonderfully descriptive, common-sensical approach!

RH
Richard H.

Very good presentation of important considerations related to issues of memory, perception and biases.

CS
Candace S.

One of the best CLE courses that I have seen on LawLine.

CC
Charles C.

This presenter was really good.

DD
Darlene D.

This was a good lecture and has value across practice areas. The lecturer did a great job of organizing and presenting this information.

JG
Joseph G.

Good job

DF
David F.

Fantastic presenter

JP
James P.

Definitely one of the more generally useful ones.

MW
Mary F W.

What a great presenter! This presentation included useful broad strokes, guiding principles, and excellent details.

VA
VINCENT A.

Great Presentation. One of the best so far.

EK
Erik K.

Good presentation and pace. Eye witness testimony can be notoriously bad.

AM
Antoine M.

Good, thorough practical information

WW
Wendy W.

Very good presentation. I enjoyed the topic.

JH
jeffrey h.

Perhaps the best program I have seen on LawLine

BA
Beverly A.

Excellent speaker; fascinating topic.

PM
Paul M.

Good course. Much will apply to civil cases as well.

JS
John H. S.

excellent

CG
Christopher G.

Very interesting points and insight.

BT
Bo T.

Great presentation!! Concise. Energized.

KL
Kevin L.

Great Presenter

TH
Todd H.

Instructor was most excellent.

JC
Jonathan C.

Terrific speaker

RM
richard m.

well done, effective and thought provoking

KM
Kristin M.

This was one of the best online courses I've taken. Great presenter, great material. Very thorough yet concise. Well done.

IO
Ingrid O.

Best CLE. Great presenter.

AM
Abigail M.

This was extremely helpful and informative. One of the best CLEs I have seen so far.

EW
Elysa W.

I thought the speaker did a great job with the subject

DC
daniel c.

good material on confirmation bias and race

JN
Josh N.

Excellent program, very well presented

RG
Richard G.

This was an incredibly instructive presentation. This woman was excellent. Thank you.

KG
Karla G.

Great presentation!

GL
Gary L.

One of the best I've seen on Lawline. Maybe more on whether expert testimony will be admissible on these matters?

JV
Jared V.

I liked the presenters use of case study

DH
David H.

Informative - thought provoking - well-done

DG
David G.

Excellent presentation. Extremely interesting and probative.

EK
Ellen K.

Totally great presentation..!!

MG
MICHAEL G.

BRILLIANT

DB
Dwight B.

GREAT

EJ
Edward J.

Instructor provided good issues to raise during wade hearings.

RV
Rose V.

Excellent presentation.

JH
joseph h.

Excellent presentation and speaker. Very interesting subject well presented.

AS
Andrew S.

very good course

JF
Jeffrey F.

Very informative. Thank you!

GH
george h.

In my opinion this was a well[put together law course. Thank you.

TH
Tom H.

Great mix of science and practical application in the legal system. Speaker also very effective. Hope y'all will use her again.

HR
Honey R.

The attorney was great, entertaining and knowledgeable.

MG
Malisa G.

Such an interesting and engaging presentation! I enjoyed it very much!

RT
Rajesh T.

good

MB
Mayo B.

Outstanding presentation. Should be law school curriculum. The presenter was wonderful.

MD
Matthew D.

This was a very interesting, useful, an well presented lecture.

RL
richard l.

exceptional

JB
Jeffrey B.

good

HM
Heather M.

This was a great presentation, not only the content but speaker was engaging and knowledgeable.

VS
Victor E. S.

Presenter was very knowledgeable and clear.

SL
Scott L.

Superb CLE!!

LH
Ligia H.

Great Presentation!

GV
G Q Buck V.

The best overall presentation I have seen.

JV
James V.

excellent

GP
George P.

Great discussion of Eyewitness False Testimony

KH
Kathleen H.

Excellent presentation.

JC
James Ming C.

Fantastic content. The title misleadingly concealed the focus on cognitive psychology and its applicability to law. What a nice surprise!

KA
Kathryn A.

excellent presentation

AH
Ann H.

Extremely excellent presentation. Speaker was knowledgeable and easy to listen to. Very well done.

MM
Mary Anne M.

excellent

CE
C. Peyton E.

A genuinely interesting presentation that includes practical application advice.

MF
Michelle F.

really enjoyed this speaker

MB
Megan B.

Excellent!

RB
Rianna B.

Thank you!

BC
brady c.

presenter rocks

JM
John M.

The presentation was very effective, thought provoking, informative and interesting.

GW
Gaston W.

Eye opening into how we sometimes forget to probe into human error. G

KY
Kimberly G. Pigg Y.

Very good presentation

JR
James R.

Presenter very good and effective.

KS
Kenneth S.

Forceful, enthusiastic and insightful

CS
Charles S.

My extensive trial experience confirms the many good points made.

RM
Roya M.

Engaging speaker, comprehensive presentation.

KJ
Kimberly J.

Excellent speaker and presentation

CH
Cathie H.

Excellent presenter! Great information!

CS
Courtney RKP S.

This has enhanced my cross examination techniques

KK
Kathryn K.

Fascinating class with a knowledgeable and passionate lecturer. Tx for the information, insight and techniques.

HJ
Hilary J.

Speaker was excellent! I do not practice criminal law but speaker made the seminar very interesting and informative.

WB
William B.

This is a very informative course.

GN
Gregory N.

Outstanding Presentation. Subject matter and speaker were excellent

GP
Georgian P.

Interesting program! Very knowledgeable speaker! Helpful information!

SK
Steven K.

great

MP
Michael P.

She is excellent the program is outstanding. No technical problems. Learned and enjoyed the course so much.

AR
Ann R.

Really interesting. She did a great job with examples to explain biases Highly recommend

CE
Corey E.

Thank you.

JR
Jeff R.

knowledgeable instructor

HA
Hansen A.

The best speaker so far.

JR
Julia R.

Engaging and useful program.

JR
Joseph R.

Extremely interesting

AL
Alexander L.

Great

TS
Theophilus S.

Excellent program!

ES
Errol S.

perfect class

JC
Jean-Paul C.

As much a fascinating discussion of cognitive psychology as law. Entertaining and informative.

RS
Raquel S.

This is by far the best seminar I've listened to in my 10+ years as an attorney.

PP
Prudence P.

Very very interesting topic. And very thought provoking, especially in terms of recent use of phones to re Ors in indents and eye witnesses filling in the otherwise barely discernible action/events that transpired.

JS
Jeff S.

Good presentation.

PY
Paul Y.

Very interesting and well presented. Highly recommend this seminar.

SS
stephen s.

excellent presenter, among the best in the CLE program that I have seen

EF
Eric F.

very thought provoking

SH
Steven H.

Invaluable.

ST
Stephen T.

Very informative and well presented!!

KA
Katherine A.

Excellent detail in suggested questions to ask witnesses so really discover biases and incomplete memories.

RG
Robert G.

The speaker was excellent!!!!

HV
Henry V.

Valuable training for all lawyers

JT
James D. T.

Presenter had excellent ability to convey with the audience.

RG
Robert G.

I appreciated the speaker's repetitive instruction to some listener's to Always Check for your clients the climate, attitude and current state-of-mind of the eyewitness. Useful.

CW
Casandra B. W.

Very Good Instructor

JR
Janice R.

unbiased professional, well organized presentation

TP
Todd P.

Excellent delivery by the speaker. Thorough introduction to this topic.

RL
Raymond L.

Great Program. Terrific presenter

DP
Dana P.

Fascinating and informative.

MS
Melody S.

Great!

RF
Robert F.

Very good speaker.

KR
Kenneth R.

Very good program!

WD
William D.

Very interesting info

DL
David L.

Excellent presentation!!

LG
Laura G.

Excellent presentation. Well spoken attorney who is familiar with witness testimony issues.

PC
Patrick C.

This was great; packed with solid information. Well done.

MM
Michelle M.

Very thorough.

BR
Bruce R.

Enjoyable and informative presentation.

KM
Kirk M.

I especially like this presenter. She is informative, clear and concise.

EP
Eric P.

Nice presentation. Very interesting.

JG
James G.

Excellent presentation of an important topic.

CB
Carla B.

I wish I could give a higher faculty score for this course!

JB
Janet B.

Speaker was really good. Can tell she's an excellent litigation attorney.

HR
Heather R.

Her CLE was excellent. One of the best I've watched in 10 years.

DM
Danielle M.

love the instructor!

CG
Cynthia G.

Very interesting course!!!

SR
Scott R.

Thanks!

RB
Randal B.

Very good presentation, excellent written materials

DL
Daniel L.

One of the most engaging speakers I have watched on Lawline.

CH
Charles H.

Excellent

JH
Janine H.

Succinct, interesting, knowledgeable.

DD
Daniel D.

W-O-W! Hands down, best CLE ever, and I have been a criminal defense attorney for 30 years. Content-10 Speaker-10.

FK
Frederick K.

An outstanding and well organized presentation.

JB
john b.

I liked that fact that Florina emphasized that a defense attorney must be very aggressive in using cross examination to attack and to weaken eye witness testimony.

JD
James B. D.

Very interesting and informative seminar

DD
DANIEL D.

Great Class! Well done!!

PQ
Pamela Q.

I don't have a criminal practice, but still found this interesting & timely.

RW
Rodrick W.

One of the best presentations I've seen. It was great technique to get the viewers involved with a video. Great job!

SS
Sarah S.

I took this course because the subject matter interested me, but it far exceeded my expectations - the materials were illustrative and the instructor highly engaging and effective.

CA
Chartrisse A.

well done! great information!

KS
Kay S.

good speaker

JC
james c.

Wow, this was much better than I anticipated. The presenter did an outstanding job!

MS
Max S.

Good presentation-- public (and some lawyers) inclined to think eyewitness testimony is the most reliable evidence, while it is often the most unreliable.

JK
Janet K.

Good presenter

KO
Kathleen O.

Excellent presentation and practical examples.

SS
Steven S.

Atty. Altshiler is one of your best Presenters. I wish she had been an LA County Dep. DA

ST
Stephen T.

Very interesting presentation. Though I don't practice criminal law, I found the concepts of great interest and of potential application in civil litigation.

MS
Marilyn S.

This was just an outstanding course. Thanks.

ZS
Zvi S.

Good

WN
William N.

good

JK
John K.

Interesting, fact based lecture that covered a good amount of the topic areas, and provided valuable information.

CC
Cate C.

Excellent!

MM
Marcia M.

very good!

MP
Michele P.

Excellent information for civil matters, too.

MS
mark s.

Awesome

JK
Joseph K.

Use of slide show with sample jury instructions from several states was great to substantively show progress in law--from one in state where such instructions are not commonly given and need to be argued for.

CB
Cynthia B.

Great questioning tips

HF
Herbert F.

excellent Program

CC
Carrol C.

Very good speaker. Interesting points on confirmation bias.

AH
Angela H.

Excellent CLE

WM
Will M.

This was a really good course

MF
Michael F.

great course

RG
richard g.

She is great!!

MG
Michael G.

One of the most interesting and best courses I have taken!

JD
Jeffrey D.

I really enjoyed this presenter. She was clear, concise, and thought provoking. Thanks!

RB
Russell B.

This was an outstanding course presentation.

ME
Marshall L. E.

Great Program

DM
david m.

one of the best ever. Thank-you.

FE
Frank E.

Excellent program on a nice narrow issue of great importance to trial attorneys.

CS
Carl S.

Great course. Thank you.

JG
Jay G.

Excellent speaker and topic. Very thorough.

RM
Robert M.

Great lecturer. One of the best I've ever listened to over many years.

BP
Bhavik P.

Excellent coverage of important issues.

JS
Jacqueline S.

By far the most interesting CLE I've done in a long time. Great presentation of a really fascinating and important topic.

AP
Albert P P.

Excellent program.

PR
Penny R.

Excellent!

LS
Leslie S.

Excellent

AM
Anthony M.

Very good presentation. Excellent topic and excellent presenter.

CW
Cynthia W.

Extremely interesting and very helpful.

WM
Walter M.

Exceptional presentation

RG
Robert G.

One of the best presentations that I have scene on a crucial subject.

SG
Susan G.

Excellent presentation!

LP
Larry P.

Very Good!

JB
Julie A. B.

Helpful examples. Good flow.

AF
Antoine F.

Might be the best course I ever watched

MH
Michelle H.

Really interesting and practical approach!

VD
V. Michael D.

nice job

RG
Rafael G.

Very good course.

JC
John C.

This was an extremely informative program that was presented very well.

LB
Louise B.

very good information

RL
richard l.

Very interesting and logical.

JK
Jamilee K.

I thought the presenter did an excellent job. She held my attention throughout. I found the topic very interesting.

RG
Richard G.

Excellent program, superbly presented. Highly recommended.

GW
Gentle W.

This is an excellent presentation, and is increasingly relevant as video becomes more ubiquitous. Eyewitnesses may (subconsciously) change their account to match the video.

CM
Catherine M.

interesting and informative

JF
Joel F.

Excellent presentation and content. Would have appreciated more time for this presentation.

CC
Carl C.

Terrific!

RG
Ruth G.

Very informative.

SF
Stanley F.

VERY, VERY GOOD AND INFORMATIVE WELL PRESENTED

AD
Alfred D.

Very good presentation. Practical and insightful.

CC
Charles C.

Best CLE in all of my experiences with LAWLINE or any other.

BG
Brenda J. G.

Excellent presentation of material!

PF
Peter F.

great course

JB
John-Frederick B.

Interesting course

JF
Joan F.

The presenter was energetic and engaging. She presented the materials in a realistic and meaningful way. Excellent

SW
SCOTT W.

Great course on eye witness accounts.

RB
Reginia B.

very thorough and well organized

DJ
Darrell R. J.

Great speaker with valuable insights and compelling delivery! Invite her back without fail.

LG
Lawrence G.

Extremely valuable presentation

KH
Karriem H.

Very good presenter.

KK
keith k.

Great presentation!

AD
Alice D.

Great presentation and presenter. Although the examples were from criminal law, I can use these techniques in civil practice as well.

SZ
Susan Z.

Excellent!

SH
Steven H.

Great topic and presentation.

JA
Jill A.

Speaker was great

PS
Peter S.

A really solid and informative presentation.

MH
Mary H.

Great presentation - basic, practical tips.

JP
James P.

Very, very good.

DW
Daniel W.

One of the best CLE courses I have viewed on Lawline. Superb presentation of a very important area.

JM
John M.

Presentation was excellent, have had personal experience with false eye witness testimony

BG
Barry G.

The presenter was a very effective speaker, and she prepared the class as thoroughly as any I have attended. I really got something new and enlightening out of this.

RW
Rhonda G. W.

Thank you for a thorough and clear presentation.

EC
Elizabeth C.

great speaker!

JD
John D.

The subject matter was interesting and the slides were very detailed.

MH
Meg H.

Presenter was very engaging.

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