New York Lags on Reforms


An Innocence Project report released today

finds that New York outpaces almost every other state in the number of wrongful convictions overturned by DNA testing but has fallen behind others in reforms to prevent future injustice. And diverse voices across the state have called on lawmakers to act this session to address wrongful convictions.

Westchester Journal News columnist Noreen O’Donnell

wrote today that it would be a shame if reforms were delayed again in New York by further study

. Sylvia Barnes Bouchard, the mother of New York exoneree Steven Barnes, wrote in the Syracuse Post-Standard that the injustice suffered by her son – and his family – can be avoided by critical reforms.

Right now, Gov. David Paterson and leaders in the state Legislature are deciding whether to make our justice system more fair, accurate and reliable so that law enforcement can identify the guilty and protect the innocent. The current legislative session ends later this month, and our elected officials can adopt critical reforms before then to prevent wrongful convictions that devastate individuals' lives, families and entire communities.

Steven is one of 24 people in New York wrongfully convicted and then exonerated with DNA testing. These cases are just the tip of the iceberg, since DNA testing is possible in just a tiny fraction of cases. But the exonerations show how our criminal justice system has failed, and how it can be fixed.

Read her full column here

. (Syracuse Post-Standard, 06/07/09)

And individuals across the state are writing to state leaders urging them to take action on these reforms during this session.

If you’re in New York, please write to your lawmakers now


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