New York Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman released the State of the Judiciary report yesterday which announced initial reform recommendations from the state’s Justice Task Force.
The report, “Pursuing Justice,” includes a special thanks to the Innocence Project at Cardozo Law School for its “wonderful advisory assistance” provided to the Task Force.
To combat wrongful convictions, the Task Force intends to develop a comprehensive set of best practices that can improve the accuracy and reliability of eyewitness identifications across New York.
These best practices include training for law enforcement, judges, prosecutors and defense attorneys on the inherent risks of eyewitness identification procedures and how law enforcement should interact with witnesses and victims during identifications in order to avoid suggestion.
The Task Force recommends that photo arrays and line ups be conducted by law enforcement officials who don’t know the identity of the suspect so that witnesses aren’t intentionally or unintentionally given clues as to the identity of the suspect. The recommendations also include asking the witness for a confidence statement about the confidence or certainty of his or her identification.