News 07.03.08

Innocence Project and local allies urge New York State to adopt criminal justice reforms

At a New York State Senate Democratic Task Force hearing in New York City, Innocence Project Policy Director Stephen Saloom and others testified about the prevalence of wrongful convictions in the state and the need for criminal justice reform. A New York Times article outlines the proposals discussed at the hearing, including preservation of DNA evidence, eyewitness identification reform, creating a state criminal justice reform commission, and requiring electronic recording of all custodial interrogations.

Bronx-native Alan Newton, who was exonerated through DNA testing in 2006, spoke at the hearing in support of the reforms, along with Marty Tankleff who was wrongfully convicted in Long Island for the murder of his parents because of a false confession.

“I was one of the lucky ones,” said Mr. Tankleff, who testified at the forum before rushing off to his college class. “I was a white guy who lived in a nice area with a great family.”

Read the full New York Times article

here

.

The hearing was the second in a series of four forums (called “Preventing Wrongful Convictions in New York State: Systematic Reforms to Convict the Guilty and Protect the Innocent”) to be held across the state by the Senate Democratic Task Force headed by State Senator Eric Schneiderman. At each forum, legislators and the public hear testimony from experts and exonerees on reform issues. With 23 DNA exonerations, New York State has one of the highest rates of wrongful convictions later overturned through DNA testing — yet the state lags behind in criminal justice reform.

Read the

Innocence Project press release

about yesterday’s forum:

Read

“Lessons Not Learned,”

the Innocence Project’s report on wrongful convictions in New York State and reforms that can prevent them.

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