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Book Chapter

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Psychological Science in the Courtroom: Consensus and Controversy

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Increasingly, psychologists are giving expert testimony in court on the accu­ racy of eyewitness identification (Kassin, Tubb, Hosch, & Memon, 2001). Eyewitness experts typically are cognitive or social psychologists who have published research articles on the topic of eyewitness memory. Expert testi­ mony in eyewitness identification is most commonly offered by the defense in criminal cases but is occasionally countered by opposing expert testimony offered by the prosecution. The increasing use of such expert testimony owes largely to the growing recognition that mistaken eyewitness identification is the single most common precursor to the conviction of innocent people (Doyle, 2005). In addition, there is an increasingly strong case that the exist­ ing safeguards designed to protect defendants from erroneous conviction resulting from mistaken identification, such as motions to suppress sugges­ tive procedures, cross-examination, and right to counsel at live lineups, are ineffective (Van Wallendael, Devenport, Cutler, & Penrod, 2007).


This chapter was published as Cutler, B. L., & Wells, G. L. (2009). Expert testimony regarding eyewitness identification. J. Skeem, K. Douglas, & S. Lilenfeld (Eds.), Psychological science in the courtroom: Consensus and controversy. Copyright Guilford Press. Reprinted with permission of The Guilford Press.

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The Guilford Press



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