News 07.13.07

Doing time for no crime

Arthur Carmona was 16 when he was convicted of two robberies in California. He would serve three years before evidence of his innocence began to mount. He was offered a plea agreement that ended his incarceration, but he would not be fully exonerated. He has now devoted himself to fighting the causes of wrongful conviction. He writes in today’s Los Angeles Times about why he supports three bills pending before the California legislature.

Senate Bill

756

, sponsored by Mark Ridley-Thomas (D-Los Angeles), would require the state Department of Justice to develop new guidelines for eyewitness identification procedures. For example, guidelines in other states limit the use of in-field show-ups like the one that led to my wrongful conviction.

Senate Bill

511

, sponsored by Elaine Alquist (D-Santa Clara), would require recording of the entire interrogation, including the Miranda warning, in cases of violent felonies. Electronic recording of interrogations would not only help end false confessions but also discourage police detectives from lying during interrogations — as they did in my case by claiming to have videotaped evidence of me.

Senate Bill

609

, sponsored by Majority Leader Gloria Romero (D-Los Angeles), would prevent convictions based on uncorroborated testimony by jailhouse snitches.

The Legislature should pass all three bills, and the governor should sign them. These reforms are urgently needed to prevent wrongful and unjust incarcerations.

Prison is no place for an innocent man, let alone an innocent kid.


Read the full column here

. (Los Angeles Times, 07/13/2007)

Read more about the

reform bills pending in the California legislature

and a

recent hearing

of the California Commission on Fair Administration of Justice.

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