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Title

Juror Misperceptions of Eyewitness Evidence: Impact on Expert Testimony and Credibility

Presentation Type

Poster Presentation

Abstract

In instances where jurors don’t know or are not expected to understand a particular area of evidence, experts are brought in to explain and clarify the science so that the jurors may be better able to evaluate the information. However, understanding precisely what jurors believe about eyewitness factors is key. We provided mock jurors with a trial summary that employed eyewitness testimony and then provided jurors with an expert whose testimony was either standard or specifically addressed common misperceptions surrounding memory evidence. Results are discussed in terms of credibility of the expert and perceived usefulness of the testimony. Unfortunately, the criminal justice system generally assumes that jurors have a base knowledge and understanding of the issues surrounding memory evidence. In those situations, experts may not be allowed to testify. It is necessary to identify the most efficient ways for experts to testify in order to appropriately sensitize jurors to eyewitness memory issues and to inspire future use of experts within the courtroom.

Start Date

25-4-2015 8:30 AM

End Date

25-4-2015 9:45 AM

Faculty Advisor

Kim MacLin

Comments

Location: Great Reading Room, Seerley Hall

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Apr 25th, 8:30 AM Apr 25th, 9:45 AM

Juror Misperceptions of Eyewitness Evidence: Impact on Expert Testimony and Credibility

In instances where jurors don’t know or are not expected to understand a particular area of evidence, experts are brought in to explain and clarify the science so that the jurors may be better able to evaluate the information. However, understanding precisely what jurors believe about eyewitness factors is key. We provided mock jurors with a trial summary that employed eyewitness testimony and then provided jurors with an expert whose testimony was either standard or specifically addressed common misperceptions surrounding memory evidence. Results are discussed in terms of credibility of the expert and perceived usefulness of the testimony. Unfortunately, the criminal justice system generally assumes that jurors have a base knowledge and understanding of the issues surrounding memory evidence. In those situations, experts may not be allowed to testify. It is necessary to identify the most efficient ways for experts to testify in order to appropriately sensitize jurors to eyewitness memory issues and to inspire future use of experts within the courtroom.