News 10.17.08

Friday roundup

News from the innocence movement this week:


Patrick Waller

officially became the 223rd person exonerated by DNA testing in the United States when Texas’ highest criminal court granted his writ of habeas corpus. He served 15 years in prison for a rape he didn’t commit before DNA testing proved his innocence and led to his release in July.

Several cases pointed this week to the unreliability of eyewitness testimony, which is often the only evidence used to convict a defendant – especially in those cases without biological evidence:

A Kentucky man was convicted in 2007 of a robbery he says he didn’t commit, and he is appealing based on evidence that

the “show-up” procedure used to identify him was flawed

.


Charges were dropped

in a Hartford, Connecticut robbery case when police learned the defendant had been arrested based on a nickname mix-up and then misidentified by two  eyewitnesses.

A Pennsylvania judge

denied the Innocence Project’s request for additional DNA testing

in the case of Kevin Siehl, who has been in prison since 1992 for a murder he says he didn’t commit. Testing in ongoing on several items, but the judge denied further tests.

A Kentucky judge

denied further DNA testing in the case of Brian Keith Moore

, who is on death row for a crime he says he didn’t commit.

And

a new execution date is set for October 27 for Troy Davis

, who is on Georgia’s death row for a murder he says he didn’t commit. Davis was convicted based on the testimony of nine eyewitnesses. Seven of them have recanted in recent years, saying they were coerced by police.

Read more about Davis’ case here

.

But in a week with so much case-related news, there was plenty of reform momentum to as well.

Texas State Senator Rodney Ellis said he wants lawmakers to improve the way identification procedures are handled in the state, calling for

a statewide ban on “show-up” identifications

.


Baltimore courts are demanding that police and prosecutors conduct a complete search

for biological evidence from a 1975 rape case.

Outgoing Chicago prosecutor Dick Durbin

told the Chicago Bar Association that police and prosecutors must work hard to corroborate confessions

and admissions to ensure that they aren’t false.

An editorial in Tennessee called for

immediate reforms before executions could continue

.

And a newly exonerated Mississippian registered to vote

for the first time in two decades

.

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