News 10.30.09

Friday Roundup: Fighting for Exoneration and Reform, from Inside and Outside the System

This week saw

a New York prisoner freed

on evidence of his innocence and

charges dropped in a notorious Texas case

while countless prisoners and advocates continue to fight on. Here are a few stories of innocence and reform from the week:


Centurion Ministries

and the

Innocence Project of Florida

are

seeking DNA tests for Florida prisoner Gary Bennett

, who was convicted of murder more than 25 years ago based in part on the testimony of discredited dog handler John Preston.

The Medill Innocence Project standoff with prosecutors stayed in the news this week: Innocence Project Co-Director Barry Scheck

discussed the case on NPR

, and

the New York Times reported on developments

.

Exoneree Ronald Cotton and crime victim Jennifer Thompson-Cannino

spoke on Kansas City public radio

about eyewitness identification reform and their book “

Picking Cotton

.”

Blogger Scott Greenfield

wrote at Simple Justice about the legendary career of journalist Pete Shellem,

who investigated wrongful convictions at the Patriot-News in Harrisburg, PA and died last weekend. Shellem’s funeral will be held Monday.

A lieutenant in the Los Angeles Police Department wrote in the Christian Science Monitor this week that

critical reforms to eyewitness procedures and police interrogations can prevent wrongful convictions

.

A report from researchers at the George Mason University found that a caseload crisis has pushed Missouri’s public defense system "

to the brink of collapse

."

Ernest Willis, who spent 17 years in prison for an arson murder before he was exonerated,

this week called on Gov. Rick Perry to halt executions in the state

. Wills was convicted based on evidence very similar to the evidence used against Cameron Todd Willingham. Texas Monthly posted

a video interview with Willis

. We updated the

Willingham Resource Center

with these stories and more media coverage of the case this week.

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