News 08.01.07

Michigan case highlights causes of wrongful convictions

A questionable eyewitness identification and the testimony of a jailhouse snitch led to Frederick Freeman’s conviction of a 1986 murder in Michigan. Now, Freeman and his attorneys are seeking to have his conviction overturned on evidence that he was wrongfully convicted, and a two-part series starting today in the Detroit Metro Times investigates his case.

Read the full story here

. (Detroit Metro Times, 08/01/07)

Another story in today’s Metro Times considers the role of eyewitness identification in more than 75% of wrongful convictions overturned by DNA testing. The story explores the case of Ronald Cotton, who was misidentified and convicted of rape in North Carolina in 1987. Jennifer Thompson-Cannino was the victim in the case and now speaks nationally about the problems with eyewitness identification.

"Not all eyewitness identification is bad. What I find is that a lot of eyewitness identification retrieves people's memory incorrectly. By the time we make identification, there's so much in our memory that, really, our memories are not pure. That's what happened to me," she says.

Raped for 30 minutes as a college student in North Carolina in 1984 after a man broke into her apartment, Thompson-Cannino says she made it a point to study her attacker at the time.

"I was a very convincing witness because I honestly believed that I had made the right identification. I was so sure," she says.

Read the full story here

. (Detroit Metro Times, 08/01/07)

Part two of the Frederick Freeman will appear next week. Look for the link here on the Innocence Blog.

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