The Child in the Eyes of the Jury: Assessing Mock Jurors’ Perceptions of the Child Witness

  • David F. Ross
  • Beth S. Miller
  • Patricia B. Moran


In many criminal cases involving sexual abuse, kidnapping, and domestic violence, a child is the sole eyewitness to the crime (Goodman, Golding, & Haith, 1984). Prosecutors are often hesitant to bring these cases to trial because of burdensome legal obstacles concerning child witnesses (Berliner & Barbieri, 1984). Recently, however, there have been several legal changes that are easing this burden. For instance, several states have abolished their rule regarding corroborating evidence (Goodman et al., 1984; Melton, 1984). This rule specifies that a child’s testimony can be accepted in court only if it is supported by the testimony of an adult. The retraction of this rule may have a sizable impact on the number of crimes that are brought to trial. In 1983 there were 183 reported cases of sexual abuse in New York State. However, only one of these cases resulted in conviction. It is believed that the lack of corroborating evidence is one factor contributing to such low conviction rates (Berliner & Barbieri, 1984; Ceci, Ross, & Toglia, 1987).


Defense Attorney Mock Juror Eyewitness Identification Eyewitness Testimony Child Witness 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag New York Inc. 1987

Authors and Affiliations

  • David F. Ross
  • Beth S. Miller
  • Patricia B. Moran

There are no affiliations available

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