Date of Award
Bachelor of Science
On July 19th, 2012, the New Jersey Supreme Court released a decision requiring judges to issue a set of instructions pertaining to problems researchers have found with eyewitness identification. This was a landmark decision because New Jersey was the first state to require judges to issue warnings about biases associated with eyewitness testimony. The present study examines the effectiveness of the New Jersey judicial warnings, specifically focusing on cross-race bias in eyewitness identification. It was hypothesized that judicial warnings would reduce the likelihood that a defendant would be found guilty and that this effect would be especially strong when the trial involved cross-race eyewitness testimony. Participants (N=72) read a modified version of a trial transcript where the races of both the eyewitness and the defendant were manipulated (black or white), and judicial warnings were either present or absent. Judicial instructions did not change whether or not participants found the defendant guilty, but participants did find the judicial instructions to be clear and informative of problems pertaining to eyewitness identification. Implications of the findings for future research and for judicial proceedings are reviewed.
O'Connor, Molly C., "Effects of Judicial Warnings About Cross-Race Eyewitness Testimony On Jurors' Judgments". Senior Theses, Trinity College, Hartford, CT 2013.
Trinity College Digital Repository, http://digitalrepository.trincoll.edu/theses/342