Document Type


Publication Date



This article is a comparative analysis of U.S. and Zambian eyewitness law. I analyze the two countries' approaches to eyewitness law in the context of the longstanding debate on whether rules or standards best effectuate underlying social values. With regard to the United States, I conclude that either a rule or a standard for admission of eyewitness evidence could provide effective protection of defendants' due process rights while also promoting the societal interest in admitting reliable proof of guilt. I then conduct the first comprehensive analysis of Zambian eyewitness cases and conclude that Zambian eyewitness law is, in some ways, superior to the law in the United States. Ultimately, I argue that threats to judicial independence and extreme lack of legal resources in Zambia make rules superior to standards for eyewitness law in that country. I speculate that this analysis may have relevance in other developing countries and beyond the realm of eyewitness law.

Publication Title

Florida Journal of International Law