Date of Award
Master of Arts (MA)
First Advisor or Mentor
Margaret Bull Kovera
To determine the best litigation strategy for defense attorneys presented with suggestive eyewitness evidence, I tested the influence of identifications obtained through in-court and out-of-court identification procedures on jurors’ decision-making. I recruited Mock jurors through Amazon’s Mechanical Turk (MTurk) (N = 375) to watch a videotaped simulation of a robbery trial in which I varied whether the eyewitness made an in-court or out-of-court identification and the suggestiveness of the out-of-court identification procedure. Watching a trial with either an in-court or out-of-court identification procedure increased jurors’ likelihood to convict. Mock jurors who viewed a trial with an out-of-court identification procedure had higher odds of rendering a guilty verdict than did jurors’ who viewed an in-court identification procedure. When either an in-court or out-of-court identification procedure were present, jurors rated the prosecution’s case to be stronger and estimated there was a higher probability that the defendant committed the crime. Although jurors recognized differences in the suggestiveness of the identification procedures, the procedures' suggestiveness did not affect jurors’ decision to convict. Considering both identification procedures increased the prosecution’s case strength and conviction rates, but the odds of a guilty verdict were less with in-court identification than with an out-of-court identification, the best litigation strategy for defense attorneys who are presented with suggestive eyewitness evidence is to suppress the out-of-court identification and allow an in-court identification.
Welch, Elaina, "Litigation Strategies for Suggestive Identification Evidence" (2021). CUNY Academic Works.