The effectiveness of voir dire as a safeguard against erroneous conviction resulting from mistaken eyewitness identification
This research examined the efficacy of voir dire, the jury selection process, as a legal safeguard against erroneous conviction following mistaken identification. The effectiveness of voir dire depends on attorneys' abilities to identify and excuse prospective jurors who are unable or unwilling to critically evaluate eyewitness testimony. Previous research shows that case-specific attitudes are the best predictors of jurors' tendencies to convict in criminal cases. Thus, it was assumed that attitudes toward the credibility of eyewitnesses would serve as the best index of the juror's verdict inclinations in cases in which eyewitness identification figured prominently. A measure of these attitudes was developed and its internal consistency was established. In three trial simulation studies attitudes toward eyewitnesses was examined as a predictor of jurors' verdict inclinations. The predictive validity of attitudes toward eyewitnesses was weak in two of the studies and moderately strong in the third. Thus, even when reliably measured, case-specific attitudes toward eyewitnesses were at best only modestly predictive of jurors' verdict tendencies. These findings cast doubt on the effectiveness of voir dire as a safeguard against erroneous conviction arising from mistaken identification.
Narby, Douglas Jay, "The effectiveness of voir dire as a safeguard against erroneous conviction resulting from mistaken eyewitness identification" (1993). ProQuest ETD Collection for FIU. AAI9332876.