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A Survey of Defense Attorneys Knowledge And Beliefs About Eyewitness Testimony
By Richard A. Wise; David Meyer; Nell B. Pawlenko; Martin A. Safer
Eyewitness error is the leading cause of wrongful felony convictions.1 For example, in the more than 180 DNA exoneration cases, eyewitness error occurred in 75 percent or more of the cases.2
In many of the DNA exoneration cases, there were multiple eyewitnesses
and several of the defendants had been sentenced to death.
Unfortunately, DNA evidence is only available in a small percentage of
Recently, Wise, Dauphinais, and Safer proposed a comprehensive,
practical solution to the problem of eyewitness error which consists of
the following components: (1) permitting expert testimony when the
primary or sole evidence against the defendant is eyewitness testimony;
(2) improving procedures for collecting eyewitness evidence by
conducting eyewitness interviews and identification procedures in a
manner consistent with best practices identified by scientific research
in the field; and (3) educating the principal participants in the
criminal justice sys
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