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Factoring the Role of Eyewitness Evidence in the Courtroom

This study examined the effect of eyewitnesses’ expressed confidence on prospective jurors.

By: Brandon L. Garrett, Alice Liu, Karen Kafadar, Joanne Yaffe, and Chad S. Dodson – Journal of Empirical Legal Studies (2020)

Accuracy of Evidence in Criminal Cases

August 15, 2020

Motley v. Taylor

This amicus brief, filed on behalf of scholars of criminal, constitutional law, poverty law and access to justice, describes the importance of conducting a robust due process and equal protection analysis when examining the imposition of sanctions on persons without regard to their ability to pay.

Equity in Criminal Outcomes

July 15, 2020

The Explosion of Unpaid Criminal Fines and Fees in North Carolina

In over 1.72 million cases total – and 120,000 cases each year criminal courts in North Carolina have imposed fees that a person cannot or does not pay. A failure to comply with the court order to pay, or an “FTC,” is then entered in the case. This report sheds light on the scope of the FTC phenomenon in North Carolina. (2020)

Equity in Criminal Outcomes

April 15, 2020

Impact of Psychiatric Advance Directive Facilitation on Mental Health Consumers: Empowerment, Treatment Attitudes, and the Role of Peer Support Specialists

This study implemented PAD (psychiatric advanced directives) facilitation in assertive community treatment (ACT) teams and examined ACT clients’ attitudes toward PAD facilitators, satisfaction with PAD facilitation, the short-term impact of PAD completion on subjective sense of empowerment and attitudes toward treatment, and whether the type of PAD facilitator made a difference.

By: Michele M. Easter, Jeffrey W. Swanson, Allison G. Robertson, Lorna L. Moser, and Marvin S. Swartz – Journal of Mental Health (2020)

Behavioral Health Needs

February 15, 2020

Wealth, Equality, and Due Process

“Equal process” claims arise from a line of Supreme Court and lower court cases in which wealth inequality is the central concern. That equal process connection is at the forefront of a wave of national litigation concerning some of the most pressing civil rights issues of our time, including: the constitutionality of fines, fees, and costs; detention of immigrants and criminal defendants for inability to pay cash bail; loss of voting rights; and a host of other ways in which the indigent face both unfair process and disparate burdens. This article argues that an intersectional “equal process” approach to these cases better reflects both longstanding constitutional doctrine and the practical stakes in such litigation. If courts properly understand this connection between inequality and unfair process, they will design more suitable and effective remedies. By: Brandon L. Garrett – William & Mary Law Review (2019-2020)

Equity in Criminal Outcomes

January 15, 2020

Self-Policing: Eyewitness Identification Policies in Virginia

This article assesses the adoption of police eyewitness identification policies in Virginia. Policymakers were focused on this problem, in part, due to a series of DNA exonerations in cases involving misidentifications. To remedy this problem, in 2011, the state law enforcement policy agency drafted a detailed model policy on eyewitness procedure. An earlier 2013 study found those practices were only haltingly being adopted. This 2018 study, however, found near universal adoption of these best practices. By: Brandon Garrett — Virginia Law Review (2019)

Accuracy of Evidence in Criminal Cases

December 15, 2019

Bryan v. State

This amicus brief, filed by the Amicus Lab team on behalf of researchers, argued that the blood pattern evidence introduced in two Texas murder trials was unreliable, based on more recent scientific research.

Accuracy of Evidence in Criminal Cases

October 31, 2019

Garner v. Colorado

This amicus brief, filed on behalf of scholars representing a variety of disciplines, including law, psychology, neuroscience, and statistics, describes the importance of not relying solely on in-court identifications by eyewitnesses.

Accuracy of Evidence in Criminal Cases

August 14, 2019

Risk and resources: A qualitative perspective on low‐level sentencing in Virginia

Anne Metz, John Monahan, Brandon Garrett, Luke Siebert in Journal of Community Psychology (2019).

This article, co-authored by Faculty Director Brandon Garrett, explored the use of the Nonviolent Risk Assessment (NVRA) used in Virginia when judges sentenced people convicted of drug and property crimes.

Equity in Criminal Outcomes

May 15, 2019

The Impact of Proficiency Testing Information and Error Aversions on the Weight Given to Fingerprint Evidence

Using a nationally representative sample of American adults, this stydt examined the impact of proficiency testing information on the weight given to the opinions of fingerprint examiners by mock jurors considering a hypothetical criminal case. By: Gregory P. Mitchell and Brandon L. Garrett – Behavioral Science and Law (2019)

Accuracy of Evidence in Criminal Cases

March 15, 2019