Pub. date: 2004 | Online Pub. Date: September 15, 2007 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412952415 | Print ISBN: 9780761926498 | Online ISBN: 9781412952415| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
The Cardozo Law School Innocence Project Web site regularly reports new cases in which individuals who have been convicted of crimes are exonerated through DNA testing (see ). The Web site reveals that about two thirds of these cases involve mistaken eyewitness identification. This is no surprise to anyone familiar with research on eyewitness reliability. Studies documenting the role of mistaken identifications in erroneous conviction date back 70 years and have revealed that mistaken identifications were involved in more than 60% of the hundreds of cases examined by researchers. This rate is especially noteworthy given that eyewitness cases probably constitute a small proportion of all cases. Although the recent DNA exculpation cases give new emphasis to research on the pitfalls of eyewitness evidence, research on the psychological aspects of eyewitness testimony actually has a long history. Harvard professor Hugo Munsterberg, in his volume On the Witness Stand (1908), criticized Despite ...