Scholarly Articles and Other Contributions
 

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

2009

Abstract

This Article describes a method for analyzing the accuracy of eyewitness testimony that will significantly enhance the ability of the criminal justice system to assess eyewitness accuracy. The method consists of the following components: First, ascertain whether law enforcement conducted the eyewitness interviews in a manner that obtained the maximum amount of information from the eyewitness, did not contaminate the eyewitness's memory of the crime, or artificially increase the eyewitness's confidence. Next, determine whether the identification procedures in the case were fair and unbiased. Finally, evaluate what eyewitness factors during the crime are likely to have increased or decreased the accuracy of the eyewitness testimony. The Article discusses scientific guidelines for assessing the fairness of eyewitness interviews and identification procedures, and a list of eyewitness factors that most commonly affect eyewitness accuracy in criminal trials. The Appendix contains a form that will aid participants in the criminal justice system in applying this method to eyewitness testimony in criminal cases. By implementing this method, the criminal justice system will significantly reduce wrongful convictions from eyewitness error.

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