News 05.03.07

Exonerations have changed justice system

An article in today’s Washington Post reports on reforms happening nationwide as a result of DNA exonerations. The 200 wrongful convictions overturned by DNA evidence in the last 18 years have made clear that certain patterns have led to injustice over and over again. The causes of wrongful convictions are well-defined and they can be fixed with proven reforms.

The overturning of convictions based on DNA evidence is prompting changes in criminal procedures that reach beyond race. States and cities are starting to enact or consider laws to change decades-old police methods such as eyewitness identifications and police interrogations that lead to confessions.

"The exonerations have been an extremely important force in getting the legal system to recognize there's a problem," said Gary L. Wells, an Iowa State University psychology professor whose research led to new practices in eyewitness identification. "I've been working at this for 30 years, and before DNA they pretty much ignored the studies."


Read the full story here

. (Washington Post, 5/3/07)


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