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Abstract

In a survey, 160 US judges indicated their knowledge and beliefs about eyewitness testimony. Although correct on some issues, judges were often wrong on important issues such as whether at trial eyewitness confidence is a good indicator of eyewitness accuracy, and if jurors can distinguish accurate from inaccurate witnesses. Increased knowledge was associated with: a willingness to permit legal safeguards, including expert testimony at trial; a belief that jurors have limited knowledge of eyewitness factors; a reluctance to convict defendants solely from eyewitness testimony; a more accurate estimate of the extent to which wrongful convictions result from eyewitness error; and a belief that judges need more eyewitness training. Additional training about factors and procedures that affect eyewitness accuracy may help judges reduce the number of wrongful convictions. Copyright © 2004 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.