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Eyewitness Identification: Psychological Aspects - Cooperation Between Eyewitness Researchers And The Criminal Justice System

guidelines lineup national findings

Some of the battle between eyewitness research findings and the criminal justice system is fought out in the courtroom via issues concerning expert testimony by psychologists on these issues. Beginning in the late 1990s, however, elements of cooperation between eyewitness researchers and the criminal justice system yielded some success (Wells et al., 2000). A project initiated by the U.S. Department of Justice under the auspices of the National Institute of Justice convened a panel and working group of eyewitness researchers, prosecutors, police, and defense lawyers to develop national guidelines for law enforcement. These guidelines, informed by eyewitness research findings, were published in 1999 (Technical Working Group for Eyewitness Evidence). The guidelines include descriptions of how eyewitnesses should be instructed prior to viewing a lineup, how fillers should be selected for lineups, how to conduct a sequential lineup procedure, and warnings against giving feedback to eyewitnesses following their identification decisions. The process of including eyewitness researchers in the development of these guidelines was unique and might hold great promise for the future of the interface between the criminal justice system and social science.

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