News 01.06.14

Buffalo News Says New York State Needs to Enact Criminal Justice Reforms

An editorial in Sunday’s

Buffalo News

said it’s time for New York State to enact overdue criminal justice reforms to cut down on wrongful convictions. The newspaper’s urging comes two weeks after the

Innocence Network

announced that it achieved 31 exonerations in 2013 —three of which were in New York.

 

The leading cause of wrongful convictions continues to be eyewitness misidentification while faulty forensics, false confessions and incentivized informant testimony are other contributing factors.

 

The Innocence Project has promoted several reforms in the past few legislative sessions, including improvements to eyewitness identification procedures and implementation of mandatory recording of custodial interrogations. The

Buffalo News

writes:


. . .[W]itness misidentification, false confession and other of the more common causes of wrongful conviction are, to a great extent, problems of procedure, and procedures can be changed to diminish the chances of sending an innocent person to prison.

 

Thus the push – adopted in some states, but not New York – to change the way witness identification is handled, to guard against misidentification. That is also why some states – but not New York – require the recording of all interrogations. That guards against false confession, which sometimes occurs when police inadvertently feed to a suspect details of a crime that only the perpetrator would know.

 

There is simply no good reason not to adopt these reforms, yet New York refuses. That’s because the State Senate will not act.

 

. . .

 

It’s time to act. The state needs to move on these issues in 2014.


Read the full editorial

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