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Eyewitness testimony no longer a gold standard

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  • Eyewitness testimony no longer a gold standard

    Oregon Supreme Court Chief Justice Thomas A. Balmer, center, questions an attorney in February at the University of Oregon School of Law in Eugene, Ore., the justices heard arguments that could reverse a murder conviction based on witness identifications in court. The Register-Guard file photo

Posted: Sunday, April 20, 2014 9:30 pm | Updated: 12:16 am, Mon Apr 21, 2014.

PORTLAND, Ore. — The American legal system offers few moments as dramatic as an eyewitness to a crime pointing his finger across a crowded courtroom at a defendant.

The problem is that decades of studies show eyewitness testimony is right only about half the time — a reality that has prompted a small vanguard of police chiefs, courts and lawmakers to toughen laws governing the handling of eyewitnesses and their accounts of crimes.

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