Connecticut Considers Criminal Justice Reform Legislation
In an op-ed piece in today’s Hartford Courant, Innocence Project Policy Director Stephen Saloom argues that the Connecticut Legislature should pass a bill that would help prevent eyewitness misidentification. Connecticut’s governor recently proposed expanding the state’s DNA database, saying it would help protect the innocent and identify the guilty. The Innocence Project believes that reforms proven to prevent wrongful convictions should be a top priority. Eyewitness misidentification is the leading cause of wrongful convictions overturned through DNA testing – and was the cause of James Tillman’s wrongful conviction. Tillman served over 16 years in Connecticut prisons before his release in 2006.
If better eyewitness identification procedures had been in place two decades ago, James Tillman might not have been wrongfully convicted. At his trial in 1989, the primary evidence was the victim's identification of Tillman as her attacker. Even though the attack happened in a parking garage at night when the victim was impaired and under extreme duress, she identified him in a photo array.
Read the full op-ed here.
(Hartford Courant, 03/10/08)
Read more about Tillman’s case here.
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