District of Columbia

Eyewitness Identification Reform

The Metropolitan Police Department has a policy that comports with some recommended elements of a robust protocol, including blind administration of lineups. A critical reform, namely the taking of a confidence statement, is not included in the policy. Effective: 2007; Amended most recently: 2013.

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Recording of Interrogations

District of Columbia statute requires that all custodial interrogations of persons accused of violent crimes be recorded when the interrogation takes place at the Metropolitan Police Department interview rooms. Unrecorded statements are presumed to be involuntary unless clear and convincing rebuttal evidence suggests otherwise. Effective: 2005.

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Post Conviction DNA Testing

Any person imprisoned for a crime of violence may petition for post-conviction DNA testing with the Superior Court. Effective: 2002; Amended most recently: 2012.

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Evidence Preservation

Statute requires the automatic preservation of all biological material connected to the investigation or prosecution of a crime of violence that resulted in the conviction or adjudication of an individual. This evidence will be preserved for 5 years or as long as any person incarcerated in connection with that case or investigation remains in custody, whichever is longer. Effective 2002; Amended most recently: 2013.

District of Columbia statute meets the best practices standards outlined by the NIST Technical Working Group on Biological Evidence Preservation.

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Exoneree Compensation

Any person who has been pardoned or had a conviction overturned on the grounds of innocence after 1979 can be eligible for compensation if the person has provided clear and convincing proof of innocence and did not plead guilty. Within two years of receiving a certificate of innocence, the wrongfully convicted person is entitled to $200,000 per year of incarceration and $40,000 per year on parole, probation, supervised release, or as a registered sex offender. The wrongfully convicted person is also entitled to: $10,000 for assistance with immediate services, reimbursement of child support payments, lifetime physical and mental health care through D.C. HealthCare Alliance, and reimbursement for tuition/fees to the University of the District of Columbia or the District of Columbia Community College or for a vocational or employment skills development program. Effective: 1981; Amended most recently: 2017.

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