News 06.12.09

Friday Roundup: The Fight for Freedom

Several prisoners around the country are seeking new hearings to present evidence they say will prove their innocence, and reforms to address wrongful convictions continued to make progress and headlines this week.


A Chicago man is seeking a new trial

in a 1981 murder conviction, saying he didn’t commit the crime and was coerced to confess by former Chicago Detective Jon Burge, who has been implicated in several wrongful convictions and is charged with lying under oath about his role in the torture of suspects during interrogations.

A New York man who has served eight years for a murder he says he didn’t commit is

seeking a new hearing

based on new DNA evidence and alibi witnesses who put him hundreds of miles from the crime scene.

And a Missouri man is

seeking DNA testing

that he says will prove his innocence of a 1993 murder.

The Tucson, Arizona, Police Department is participating in a national field study on the effectiveness of eyewitness identification reforms, and

the early results are positive

.

Defense lawyer Adam Tebrugge wrote in a Florida op-ed this week about his experience trying a case involving

bullet lead analysis

and the need for

“common-sense steps” to standardize forensic science

.

Meanwhile, in New York, lawmakers are still considering innocence reforms and diverse voices from across the state continue to call for strong action this session to prevent wrongful convictions.

An editorial today in the

Buffalo News

recounted the exoneration of Anthony Capozzi and reminded readers that sending the wrong person to prison isn’t just an injustice suffered by one person, it also compromises public safety.

It is encouraging that Paterson and legislators are talking about these issues. New Yorkers should let their representatives know they see this as a law enforcement issue. Ensuring that only the guilty are convicted is the right thing to do from all perspectives.

Take action today –

send an email to leaders in Albany

urging them to support these critical reforms this session.

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