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Social Science in Court: On "Eyewitness Experts" and Other Issues

Richard O. Lempert
Law and Human Behavior
Vol. 10, No. 1/2, The Ethics of Expert Testimony (Jun., 1986), pp. 167-181
Published by: Springer
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1393514
Page Count: 15
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Social Science in Court: On "Eyewitness Experts" and Other Issues
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Abstract

This article discusses the role of social science in legal proceedings with special attention to the ethical situation of the expert psychologist asked to testify about the reliability of an eyewitness identification. It argues that in this area as in others one cannot discuss the ethics of expert psychological testimony without attending to the quality of the research and theory on which the testimony is based. It also identifies as considerations that bear on the propriety of such testimony the information the fact finder is likely to receive in its absence and the factual guilt of the defendant. The paper goes on to discuss the relationship between law and social science more generally. It argues that ultimately courts do and should have the last word regarding the place of social science in legal proceedings.

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