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Abstract

The present study compared what prosecutors and defence attorneys know about eyewitness testimony, what they believe jurors know about eyewitness testimony, and what legal safeguards they think are necessary to educate jurors about eyewitness factors. A total of 73 prosecutors and 1184 defence attorneys completed a survey about eyewitness testimony. Both groups of attorneys had extensive experience practicing law and trying criminal cases. Prosecutors were significantly less knowledgeable than the defence attorneys on almost every issue including the weak relationship between eyewitness confidence and accuracy at trial, jurors' inability to distinguish between accurate and inaccurate eyewitnesses and the benefits of sequential lineups. The prosecutors were less willing than the defence attorneys to permit eyewitness expert testimony and were less sceptical of jurors' knowledge of eyewitness testimony. We highlight issues from the survey that are relevant to the training of prosecutors and defence attorneys about eyewitness testimony. Copyright © 2008 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.