Presentation Title

Analyzing Instances of Judicial Inferences in Eyewitness Testimony Cases

Format of Presentation

15-minute lecture to be presented the Saturday of the conference

Location

IB 1014

Start Date

24-3-2018 4:30 PM

End Date

24-3-2018 4:45 PM

Abstract

Judges are human, and although our expectation is that they are always unbiased, we know they are not impervious to the natural human inclination to employ heuristics. The aim of the present study is to explore the nature of bias in the form of inferences that appear in judicial discussion of their decisions in order to understand the factors that lead to these types of reasoning in the judiciary. 233 judicial decisions of cases involving eyewitness testimony were selected from the Canadian Legal Information Institute online database. Cases were selected if they were decided between 1980- June 1 and 2016, as very little research regarding the frailties of eyewitness identification was completed prior to 1980. Descriptive case characteristics, discussion of the Sophonow Inquiry Recommendations, and discussion of related research were all coded by the previous researchers Bruer, Harvey, Adams, and Price in "Judicial Discussion of Eyewitness Identification Evidence" (2017). In the present study, inferences are defined as statements made by the judiciary with no evidence, either in the case at hand or research related, to support them. Inferences are compared to the previously coded case-specific variables. The frequency of inferences within each of the previously coded variables as well as the predictive accuracy of those variables are analyzed. This study has the potential to give us valuable insight into the nature and frequency of judicial inferences and may be applied within the justice system to identify holes in knowledge within the judiciary.

Department

Psychology

Faculty Advisor

Heather Price

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Mar 24th, 4:30 PM Mar 24th, 4:45 PM

Analyzing Instances of Judicial Inferences in Eyewitness Testimony Cases

IB 1014

Judges are human, and although our expectation is that they are always unbiased, we know they are not impervious to the natural human inclination to employ heuristics. The aim of the present study is to explore the nature of bias in the form of inferences that appear in judicial discussion of their decisions in order to understand the factors that lead to these types of reasoning in the judiciary. 233 judicial decisions of cases involving eyewitness testimony were selected from the Canadian Legal Information Institute online database. Cases were selected if they were decided between 1980- June 1 and 2016, as very little research regarding the frailties of eyewitness identification was completed prior to 1980. Descriptive case characteristics, discussion of the Sophonow Inquiry Recommendations, and discussion of related research were all coded by the previous researchers Bruer, Harvey, Adams, and Price in "Judicial Discussion of Eyewitness Identification Evidence" (2017). In the present study, inferences are defined as statements made by the judiciary with no evidence, either in the case at hand or research related, to support them. Inferences are compared to the previously coded case-specific variables. The frequency of inferences within each of the previously coded variables as well as the predictive accuracy of those variables are analyzed. This study has the potential to give us valuable insight into the nature and frequency of judicial inferences and may be applied within the justice system to identify holes in knowledge within the judiciary.