News 02.11.10

250 Reasons to Act

It has been a week since Freddie Peacock became the 250th DNA exoneree in New York, and the news is inspiring support for reforms across the country.

The Rochester Democrat and Chronicle ran

an editorial

yesterday calling for reforms, and funds, to ensure that the next exoneree doesn’t have to wait 33 years for justice.

Peacock’s wrongful conviction was caused in part by an alleged false confession. In the last several years, New York has led the country in the number of wrongful convictions overturned that involved false confessions.

In an op-ed at the

Empire Page

, Innocence Project Policy Director Stephen Saloom called for reforms in New York to prevent wrongful convictions, especially the recording of interrogations to prevent false confessions. Saloom wrote:

While it’s encouraging that Monroe County and others are starting to record some interrogations, this shouldn’t be a piecemeal approach with a handful of counties implementing parts of a critical reform on their own. For years, bills have languished in Albany that would require interrogations to be recorded statewide. It’s time for the State Legislature and the Governor to take action. If they don’t, the state’s high court should mandate recording of interrogations.  We owe at least that much to Freddie Peacock.

In another editorial,

The Los Angeles Times wrote

that shows like “CSI” have fooled us into believing that DNA is tested in every case where it’s needed. That’s not true — and in fact evidence is often lost or destroyed in cases as old as Peacock’s by the time courts order action.

Saving DNA evidence is not simply a matter of compassion for the wrongfully incarcerated. It should also be a top priority for those who want to see wrongdoers punished. Because for every Frederick Peacock who went to jail for a crime he did not commit, a perpetrator went free.

Innocence Project supporters have sent hundreds of letters to newspaper editors around the country, and the letters have begun to appear in print, helping to spread the word about the issue of wrongful convictions. A letter from

Courtney Cotton ran yesterday

in the Daily Nonpareil in Council Bluffs, Iowa, and

a letter from Scott Tudehope ran in the Tracy (CA) Press

.


Send your own letter today

.

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