News 09.25.09

Friday Roundup: The Lessons of Wrongful Conviction

The 242 wrongful convictions overturned through DNA testing in the United States to date have taught us countless lessons about how the criminal justice system is broken — and how we can fix it. Below is this week’s roundup of news from around the country, including some exciting developments on reforms that can stop injustice before it happens.

Eyewitness identification expert Gary Wells testified yesterday in New Jersey on how the state’s guidelines could go further to prevent misidentifications. "Once the witness has view of a photo or lineup, that later description of the perpetrator may be reflections of what they picked up from the photos or live lineups," rather than what they remember, Wells said.

More from the Philadelphia Inquirer

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We reported last week on the Indiana Supreme Court’s order requiring recording of interrogations.

Indianapolis Star columnist Jon Murray followed up this week

, finding that the new rule is more thorough than many on the books across the country.

The Virginia Supreme Court

granted a writ of actual innocence this week

in the case of Thomas Haynesworth, who has been cleared by DNA testing of a 1984 rape. He was also convicted of two similar crimes, however, which he says he didn’t commit. Biological evidence may not exist in those cases, and the Innocence Project is working with partners at the Mid-Atlantic Innocence Project and a law firm to ensure the other two cases are fully investigated.


Offers of help and support are pouring in for Anthony Caravella

, a Florida man who was freed from prison last week after 25 years for a crime he says he didn’t commit. DNA testing now points to another individual in that case and prosecutors are investigating.


Attorneys at the Association in Defence of the Wrongfully Convicted in Canada have filed a bail request

on behalf of Stanley Ostrowski, saying new evidence proves he was convicted more than 20 years ago of a Manitoba murder he didn’t commit.

Barney Brown marked his first year of freedom this week after 38 years behind bars for a murder he has always maintained he didn’t commit.

He will speak October 8 in Chicago at the launch of the Center on Wrongful Convictions of Youth at Northwestern University School of Law

.

Last but not least, the California Innocence Project at California Western School of Law is

celebrating its 10th anniversary

.

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