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Video versus in person hearings: Determining witness credibility
  • thomas zane reeves
thomas zane reeves
University of New Mexico

Corresponding Author:[email protected]

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Because of health risks during the global pandemic of 2020, many fact finding hearings previously held in-person were offered in a video format. The return of in-person hearings is reemerging as many practitioners contend that video hearings are inadequate for viewing witness demeanor, thereby hindering determination of witness credibility. This paper summarizes the best available evidence and concludes: (1) personal demeanor is a not reliable factor for weighing witness credibility or deception detection, (2) a variety of indicators to be used by a “trier of fact” are more accurate in evaluating witness credibility, (3) and a video format is more reliable than an in-person hearing in assessing witness credibility. It concludes with an examination of what has been learned and the opportunities recorded video hearings offer for assessing witness credibility in the future.