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Tri-State Vagaries: The Varying Responses of Delaware, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania to the Phenomenon of Mistaken Identifications

32 Pages Posted: 4 Mar 2008  

Jules Epstein

Widener University - Widener University School of Law

Date Written: January 1, 2006

Abstract

Mistaken identifications vex the criminal law, and are a manifest and well-documented source of wrongful convictions. Remediation of this problem requires an understanding of both the psychology of witness perception, memory and recall and the many points in the criminal law process - both investigative and adjudicative - where identification issues loom - lineups and photo arrays; suppression hearings; the direct and cross-examination of eyewitnesses; opening and closing statements; and jury instructions.

This Article examines the psychological findings of more than a quarter century and uses the law of three adjoining states - Delaware, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania - to examine how the legal system responds to (or ignores) these findings, with a goal toward identifying areas where improvements in the legal process can increase confidence and accuracy in eyewitness-based prosecutions.

Keywords: mistaken identification, eyewitness, wrongful conviction, criminal law, delaware, pennsylvania, new jersy

JEL Classification: K14

Suggested Citation

Epstein, Jules, Tri-State Vagaries: The Varying Responses of Delaware, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania to the Phenomenon of Mistaken Identifications (January 1, 2006). Widener Law Review, Vol. 12, No. 2, 2006; Widener Law School Legal Studies Research Paper No. 08-21. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1099473

Jules Epstein (Contact Author)

Widener University - Widener University School of Law ( email )

4601 Concord Pike
P.O. Box 7286
Wilmington, DE 19803-0474
United States

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