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NCJ Number: 127878 Find in a Library
Title: Effect of Particularized Instructions on Evaluation of Eyewitness Identification Evidence
Journal: Law and Psychology Review  Volume:13  Dated:(Spring 1989)  Pages:43-58
Author(s): M H Hoffheimer
Date Published: 1989
Page Count: 16
Type: Survey
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This study examined the effects of cautionary instructions regarding the credibility of eyewitness testimony on subjects' verdicts in cases with crucial eyewitness testimony.
Abstract: Particularized cautionary instructions regarding factors that militate against accurate eyewitness identification have been approved by a number of Federal appellate courts. To examine the possible impact of such instructions on jury verdicts, 177 law students were administered surveys that summarized evidence presented at two criminal trials. Critical inculpatory evidence in both cases included eyewitness identifications. The independent variable was the instructions. The surveys included variations in instructions regarding the proper evaluation of identification evidence. Results indicate that the particularized cautionary instructions used in a number of Federal courts increased conviction rates for both cases compared to subjects to whom a short burden-of-proving-identify instruction was administered. The particularized instruction increased the conviction rate for the "violent" case and decreased the conviction rate for the "nonviolent" case compared to subjects to whom no identification instruction was given. These results conflict with assumptions made by courts and scholars that the particularized instruction reduces the conviction rate. Implications are drawn for jury instructions and the benefits of expert psychological testimony. 29 footnotes
Main Term(s): Eyewitness testimony; Jury instructions
Index Term(s): Evidence collection
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