skip navigation


Register for Latest Research

Stay Informed
Register with NCJRS to receive NCJRS's biweekly e-newsletter JUSTINFO and additional periodic emails from NCJRS and the NCJRS federal sponsors that highlight the latest research published or sponsored by the Office of Justice Programs.

NCJRS Abstract

The document referenced below is part of the NCJRS Virtual Library collection. To conduct further searches of the collection, visit the Virtual Library. See the Obtain Documents page for direction on how to access resources online, via mail, through interlibrary loans, or in a local library.


NCJ Number: 120549 Find in a Library
Title: Legal Issues in Eyewitness Evidence (From Psychological Methods in Criminal Investigation and Evidence, P 125-147, 1989, David C. Raskin, ed. -- See NCJ-120545)
Author(s): J Doyle
Date Published: 1989
Page Count: 23
Sponsoring Agency: Springer Publishing Co
New York, NY 10036
Sale Source: Springer Publishing Co
11 West 42nd Street, 15th Floor
New York, NY 10036
United States of America
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: The legal system, particularly law enforcement, relies heavily on eyewitness testimony, though less today than in the past.
Abstract: Jurors must weigh specific data provided by witnesses with general principles derived from their commonsense experience to gauge the credibility of testimony. Many commentators argue that safeguards against eyewitness error and jury overconfidence are inadequate. Attempts to use instructions to improve jurors' abilities produce a dilemma. Jurors' strong, preexisting misconceptions seem to require strong, explicit, categorical corrective language; yet, the judge's categorical announcement of the answers to debated questions seem to threaten the fundamental basis of the jury trial. Some psychological research suggests that safeguards should be provided earlier in the trial process as eyewitnesses naturally integrate information brought up at trial with their own initial account of what happened. In a continuing debate over whether the psychologist is desirable for expert testimony, legal scholars, courts, and psychologists can be found on both sides of the debate. 40 references.
Main Term(s): Witness credibility
Index Term(s): Eyewitness testimony; Jury decisionmaking; Psychologists role in criminal justice
To cite this abstract, use the following link:

*A link to the full-text document is provided whenever possible. For documents not available online, a link to the publisher's website is provided. Tell us how you use the NCJRS Library and Abstracts Database - send us your feedback.