News 07.03.07

District Attorney’s report on New York wrongful conviction fuels statewide reform efforts

Westchester County (NY) District Attorney Janet DiFiore released a report yesterday investigating Jeffrey Deskovic’s wrongful conviction and calling for reform in the state’s criminal justice system.  Deskovic was convicted in 1990 of the murder and rape of a high school classmate and exonerated last year by DNA evidence. 

The investigation, which was commissioned by the DA and conducted by a group of outside experts, outlined several factors that led to Deskovic’s conviction.  Each of the problems identified in the report would be addressed statewide in reforms that have not yet passed in the New York State Legislature but could be revisited when legislators reconvene on July 16.

Among its recommendations are several measures to prevent wrongful convictions, like videotaping police interrogations and giving defendants the right, before and after trial, to have DNA evidence run through databanks to try to confirm the identity of actual perpetrators.

The Legislature has considered similar measures but adjourned late last month without passing any of them.

“This report makes clear that the system has not been fixed to prevent other people from enduring the tragic injustice Jeffrey Deskovic suffered,” said Barry C. Scheck, co-director of the Innocence Project, which secured Mr. Deskovic’s exoneration.

Read the full article

here

. (New York Times, 07/03/2007)

Read media coverage of the report:

Playing Down DNA Evidence Contributed to Wrongful Conviction, Review Finds –

New York Times

Report blames wrongful conviction on ‘tunnel vision’ of police, lawyers –

The Journal News

Man Wrongfully Convicted Of Rape And Murder –

WNBC | New York

Read the full report

here

.

Read the Innocence Project press release

here

.

Learn more about reforms pending in New York State

here

.

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