At a press conference this morning, Innocence Project Co-Director Peter Neufeld and two New York exonerees announced the release of a major new Innocence Project report: “
Lessons Not Learned
.” The report details the 23 wrongful convictions overturned by DNA testing in New York State and lays out a clear path to reform.
Only two states – Texas and Illinois – have had more wrongful convictions overturned with DNA testing than New York.
Some more facts from the report:
• In 10 of New York’s 23 DNA exonerations, the actual perpetrator was later identified.
• In nine of those 10 cases, the actual perpetrators of crimes for which innocent people were wrongfully convicted went on to commit additional crimes while an innocent person was in prison.
• In 10 of the 23 cases in New York, innocent people falsely confessed or admitted to crimes that DNA later proved they did not commit.
But while other states have passed reforms proven to address these issues and prevent future injustice, New York lawmakers have failed to act.
• Six states – but not New York – have formed Innocence Commissions to identify the causes of wrongful convictions and develop remedies to prevent them. All but one of those states (Illinois) have far fewer wrongful convictions overturned through DNA than New York does.
• 22 states – but not New York – have statutes mandating the preservation of crime scene evidence. The 22 states with such laws include California, Florida, Texas, Virginia, Oklahoma, Montana and Kentucky.
• Nine states – but not New York – require at least some interrogations to be recorded (either through state statute or ruling of the state high court). In addition, more than 500 local jurisdictions record at least some interrogations. Even though more people have been exonerated by DNA after falsely confessing to crimes in New York than in any other state, only two of these 500 local jurisdictions are in New York State.