Eyewitness Identification Reform

In 2020, Minnesota enacted a statute directing the Peace Officer Standards and Training Board (POST) to develop a model policy based on best practices for eyewitness identification procedures in live and photo lineups. The law requires the model policy to, at minimum, include: blind/blinded administration, witness instructions, proper use of fillers and witness confidence statements.

By February 1, 2021, all law enforcement agencies shall adopt and implement written policies on eyewitness identification procedures that are identical or substantially similar to the POST model policy. Effective: 2020.

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Recording of Interrogations

In 1994, the Minnesota Supreme Court held that custodial interviews must be electronically recorded when feasible and "must be recorded where questioning occurs at a place of dentention" beginning with the Miranda warnings. Unrecorded statements will be excluded if violation of the requirement is "substantial."

Read the Minnesota Supreme Court decision here: State v. Scales, 518 N. 2d 587, 591 (Minn. 1994).

Post Conviction DNA Testing

Any person convicted of a crime who claims innocence can file for post-conviction DNA testing within two years of conviction, or within two years of the discovery of newly discovered scientific evidence. Effective: 1999; Amended most recently: 2005.

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Evidence Preservation

State statute requires the automatic preservation of biological evidence used to secure a conviction in a criminal case for the length of an individual’s sentence. Effective: 2005.

Minnesota's statute meets the best practices standards outlined by the NIST Technical Working Group on Biological Evidence Preservation.

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Exoneree Compensation

Minnesota passed a compensation law. Effective: 2014.

See statutes: Part 1

Part 2

In-Custody Informants

State statute requires statewide tracking of the use of in-custody, or jailhouse, witnesses in a centralized database managed by the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension. Each county attorney shall report the following information to the Commissioner of Corrections, to be included in the database and published annually on a publicly accessible website (starting September 2022): 1) the name of the jailhouse witness and identifying information of the case in which they testified/planned to testify 2) the substance and use of any testimony of a jailhouse witness against the interest of​ a suspect or defendant, regardless of whether such testimony is presented at trial, and 3) the jailhouse witness's agreement to cooperate with the prosecution and any benefit​ that the prosecutor has offered or may offer in the future to the jailhouse witness in connection​ with the testimony.​

Additionally, Minnesota’s law requires prosecutors to disclose to the defense certain impeaching information about jailhouse witnesses, including: their complete criminal history of the jailhouse witness; any charges that​ are pending or were reduced or dismissed as part of a plea bargain; any cooperation agreement, deal, promise, inducement, or benefit made or intended to be made between the state and the jailhouse witness; whether the jailhouse witness recanted any testimony or statement​ implicating the suspect or defendant in the charged crime and circumstantial details of the recantation,; whether the jailhouse witness made a statement implicating any other​ person in the charged crime and circumstantial details of the implication, and; information concerning other cases in which the jailhouse witness testified, or offered to testify, against a suspect or defendant, including any agreement, deals, or benefits made/intended to be made with the jailhouse witness.​ Effective: August 2021.

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