Video-recorded lineup procedures and detecting identification accuracy
Beaudry, Jennifer Lynn
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This program of research examined whether mock-jurors could more accurately discriminate between correct and false eyewitness identifications after exposure to the identification procedure instead of—or in addition to—the witness’s testimony. In Experiment 1, 332 eyewitnesses exposed to staged crime videos attempted to identify the “criminal” from lineups. Lineups contained either the “criminal” or a replacement foil, were presented simultaneously or sequentially, and were conducted under double-blind, single-blind, or post-identification feedback conditions. In Experiment 2, 432 mock-jurors viewed a subset of the eyewitnesses from Experiment 1 (n = 48). Each mock-juror viewed a single eyewitness making their identification decision and/or testifying about the crime, their identification, and the officer. More mock-jurors believed that the eyewitnesses had made correct identifications if they viewed the testimony—with or without the identification procedure—compared to exposure to the identification procedure alone. Furthermore, more mock-jurors believed eyewitnesses who received post-identification feedback or had made their identifications from sequential lineups. These differences in belief, however, did not translate into a difference in accuracy; overall, mock-jurors believed 62.96% of correct identifications and 56.48% of false identifications. Exposure to the identification procedure did not improve mock-jurors ability to determine the accuracy of an identification; however, these mock-jurors were more aware of the post-identification feedback. Videotaping identification procedures may make triers of fact more aware of biased lineup procedures; nonetheless, exposure to these videotapes will not improve the accuracy of mock-jurors’ decisions.