A group of New York exonerees and their families sent letters today to elected state officials urging them to take action this session to address the causes of wrongful conviction. A group of 13 exonerees sent a joint letter to lawmakers, writing:
Each one of us was convicted of serious felonies before DNA testing finally proved our innocence. We are from every part of New York State, and we served a combined 163.5 years – approximately 59,677 days – in prison before we were exonerated.
We are living, breathing proof that New York’s criminal justice system has failed again and again. Our cases show how the system is falling short and how it can be fixed.
The injustice we endured is compounded by knowing that reforms have not been adopted to prevent this from happening to other people. You can change that. A series of common-sense reforms would make our justice system more fair, accurate and reliable. These reforms would help law enforcement identify and apprehend true perpetrators of crime, while protecting other innocent people from wrongful convictions.
Also this week, New York State Bar Association President Michael E. Getnick
urged state lawmakers to establish a commission on the provision of quality defense services in the state