An article in Sunday's New York Post chronicled serious missteps by the New York Police Department in evidence collection and storage that have caused countless cases to remain unsolved and have also led to wrongful convictions. This issue was highlighted by the exoneration last year of New Yorker
, who was told evidence in his case was lost for a decade before police found it. Most evidence collected by New York police is currently stored in 55-gallon barrels at a Queens warehouse and signed in and out by hand in log books.
The NYPD says it is working to address the problem by January 2008. The department is currently accepting proposals for a computerized system to track evidence.
"Hundreds of cases are in serious jeopardy because evidence has been misplaced, mishandled," one detective said. "Right now, off the top of my head, I can think of 12 rape cases where evidence cannot be found to send to independent labs."
"Anything that brings this system into this century is welcome," (another detective) said.
Read the full story here
. (New York Post, 5/13/07)
Last week, the Innocence Project and leading New York legislators announced proposals for sweeping changes to the way evidence is preserved in New York state, among other important reforms.
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evidence preservation reforms nationwide.