Governor Urges Passage of Laws to Reduce Misidentification and False Confessions in State of the State Address
Contact: Paul Cates, 212-364-5346,
David Dodge, 212-364-5371,
(Albany, NY; January 9, 2013) – In his state of the state address today, Governor Andrew Cuomo urged state lawmakers to pass reforms that would greatly reduce wrongful convictions by improving the way police conduct interrogations and identification procedures.
“Governor Cuomo demonstrates exceptional leadership and a true commitment to justice in calling for reforms that will better protect all New Yorkers,” said Barry Scheck, Co-Director of the Innocence Project, which is affiliated with Cardozo School of Law. “As Governor Cuomo correctly recognizes, everyone suffers when the wrong person is convicted of a crime because the real perpetrator remains free to commit other crimes. The reforms he is calling for will help prevent misidentification and false confessions, two of the leading causes of wrongful convictions.”
In his state of the state speech, Governor Cuomo called for laws requiring police to videotape interrogations in full and to conduct lineups double blind (meaning that the officer who conducts the lineup doesn’t know the identity of the suspect).
These reforms, which have been endorsed by the Bar Association’s Task Force on Wrongful Convictions, have been passed and eventually embraced by law enforcement in other states around the nation, including New Jersey and Connecticut.
With 27 wrongful convictions later overturned by DNA evidence, New York falls behind only Texas and Illinois in the number of wrongful convictions. Eyewitness misidentification is the leading cause of New York’s 27 DNA exonerations, contributing to 56% of the wrongful convictions. False confessions contributed to 44% of the New York DNA exonerations.