It’s time for criminal justice reform in New York State, writes Ezekiel Edwards today on the Drum Major Institute blog. Edwards, an Innocence Project Staff Attorney and Mayer Brown Eyewitness Fellow, writes that 23 people have been exonerated by DNA testing in New York after being wrongfully convicted, but “the 260 years that those 23 innocent people spent in prison has not been tragic enough to move our policymakers into action.”
Details on these 23 cases and a clear path to reform are included in a major report released last week by the Innocence Project. An except from Edwards’ blog post:
Even in the face of repeated injustice, and with full knowledge that the above factors have repeatedly caused wrongful convictions, New York has barely lifted a finger.
• Why is it that 17 states considered legislation this year to improve eyewitness identification procedures (with bills passing in five states and making progress in seven others), but New York did nothing?
• Why is it that 22 states have statutes mandating the preservation of crime scene evidence, but New York does not?
• Why is it that six states — five of which have had far fewer known wrongful convictions that New York — have formed Innocence Commissions to identify the causes of wrongful convictions and develop remedies to prevent them, but New York has not?
• Why is it that, even though DNA has exonerated more people in New York who falsely confessed than in any other state, of the nine states that require at least some interrogations to be recorded, New York is not one of them?
• Why are there more than 500 local jurisdictions across the country that record at least some interrogations, but only two of these are in New York State?
Read the full blog post here
. (DMI Blog, 10/22/07)
On October 29, the Drum Major Institute will host a forum on wrongful convictions in New York City with Innocence Project Co-Director Barry Scheck and Dallas District Attorney Craig Watkins. The forum is free and open to the public.
Click here to RSVP