An editorial in Monday’s
urged New York lawmakers to pass critical wrongful conviction reforms before the legislative session comes to a close this week. The editorial says that proposed legislation to require blind lineups and electronically record interrogations won’t accomplish everything, but it’s a step worth taking. The
The measure, which Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo is apparently prepared to sign, would allow but regulate photo lineups. The agreement apparently does nothing to improve procedures for live lineups, but the state Division of Criminal Justice Services would draft a non-binding model of best practices for accurate and reliable eyewitness identification procedures. Eyewitness misidentification is the most common cause of wrongful conviction.
The agreement would also require police to record all custodial interrogations. In other states, this practice has helped to prevent the strange phenomenon of false confessions, in which an innocent suspect, often under intense pressure, confesses to a crime he didn’t commit, sometimes after investigators unintentionally feed the suspect crime details that only the perpetrator would know.
This is a fundamental matter of justice. The Legislature should pass this compromise bill and send it to Cuomo.