On Demand Audio

Malleable Memory: Addressing Eyewitness Failure in the Courtroom

(473 reviews)

Produced on December 19, 2019

Taught by
$ 59 Criminal Law, Litigation, and Discovery & E-Discovery In Stock
Get started now

$299 / year - Access to this Course and 1,500+ Lawline courses


Course Information

Time 63 minutes
Difficulty Intermediate

Course Description

Eyewitness testimony is powerful and, too often, wrong. This program, taught by Russo & Toner Managing Attorney Florina Altshiler, addresses the many factors that contribute to the failure of eyewitness memory and addresses techniques that attorneys may employ in the cross examination of adverse witnesses. The course will begin with a case study from May 2015 wherein a man 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 inaccurate. Several people reported that the police officers shot an unarmed man while he was on the ground and handcuffed, but surveillance video of the incident documented that the suspect attacked one of the officers with a hammer before that officer's partner shot the man. 

The questions for attorneys include the following: Why is eyewitness memory flawed? How can attorneys use psychology to explore and explain issues common to eyewitness testimony throughout trial? This program explores the neuroscience and the psychology of memory, and techniques specific to addressing these issues at trial, starting with jury selection. In particular, the program will pay attention to witnesses that present difficult issues, including children, the elderly, and victims of sexual assault.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Review the scientific concepts and principles surrounding eyewitness accounts and memory
  2. Apply principles of psychology to effective jury selection
  3. Refine cross examination questioning to address police technique flaws in lineups, interrogation, and investigation
  4. Identify jury instructions that address principles of psychology as they apply to cases involving eyewitnesses, and employ appropriate jury instruction requests
  5. Draft proposed jury instructions to address common principles of psychology, with an overview of updated state-specific pattern instructions
  6. Use witness memory techniques in depositions and throughout the civil discovery process
  7. Address issues with memory as they relate to criminal conviction errors

Credit Information

After completing this course, Lawline will report your attendance information to {{ accredMasterState.state.name }}. Please ensure your license number is filled out in your profile to ensure timely reporting. For more information, see our {{ accredMasterState.state.name }} CLE Requirements page . After completing this course, {{ accredMasterState.state.name }} attorneys self-report their attendance and CLE compliance. For more information on how to report your CLE courses, see our {{ accredMasterState.state.name }} CLE Requirements FAQ .


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.


  • 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


  • 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


  • 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


  • 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


  • 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


James A.

Interesting and informative.

Kiersten B.

Very interesting and informative.

Douglas A. A.


Malcolm W.

Very interesting!

Jeffrey T.

Excellent program. Video illustrations were very helpful.

Mark B.

presenter has great speaker voice, great appropriate emotion to keep the program flowing and not boring..

Julie B.

Excellent speaker - knowledgeable, direct, relayed information in a concise manner with voice inflection. Will definitely look for this speaker again! Thank you.

Marilyn S.

Top notch cle. Clear, concise, accessible. What about the player who left the stage? :)

Marc R.


Philip W.

Very interesting as to human nature

Abigail M.

Excellent and helpful information for trial attorneys.

marilyn w.

super animated and kept it all interesting.

Mary F W.

Excellent presentation; good use of slides; good resources provided.

Ross P.

great presentation!

Bruce W. R.

outstanding, would taken course that the taught!

Daniel O.

Useful discussion.

Robert F.

Ms. Altshiler is an excellent presenter.

leonard g.

Very good program.

Jennifer K.

Really good interactive tests to illustrate the instructor's points.

Mary H.

The speaker was quite good.

Joseph B.

excellent presentation and visual depiction were useful

elizabeth-rose a.

clear presentation with good examples.

Daniel G.

Perhaps the best Lawline seminar I have ever​ watched.

Davy F.

One of the most useful courses I have taken on Lawline.

Judith R.

Loved the videos, especially the "gorilla/curtain" example!

Shaun M.

outstanding program

Daniel W.


Kenneth C.

Surprised how good was the course.

Jared B.

Very good presentation, examples, and explanation of problem and ideas for addressing it. I saw the original gorilla video a few years ago but still missed the curtain color change and player leaving. The penny example was very good, too.

Jennifer B.

Very informative, extremely useful, stunning — both substantively described live and via materials. Efficient, effective, pleasant delivery. Excellent all the way around! A+

David W.

Great info packed into one hour

Krista D.

Great class. Informative and interesting.

Robert S.

Found this to be fascinating - not my normal area of practice but very interesting.

Robert W.

Very well presented ans an excellent review of numerous topics in a limited period of time. Highly recommend this course.

Richard C.

Outstanding presentation by a very knowledgeable instructor

Melissa L.

The Psychology was very helpful.

Melissa W.

Best course I’ve taken, by far, at Lawline. Professional, prepared, relatable, and engaging materials. The use of videos was top-notch. I’ll take anything this presenter offers!

Clifford N.

This instructor was excellent!

Doug F.

Very interesting, speaker is engaging.

Lawrence H.

Loved gorilla video

Teresa B.

Great presenter!

Eric S.

Great class

Greg B.

Great instructor and materials. Engaging.

Load More