Eyewitness Identification Reform

In 2015, the Washington Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs (WASPC) issued a model policy on eyewitness identification which includes: blind/blinded administration, proper use of fillers, proper instructions to the witness, and witness confidence statements. The policy also includes procedure for show up identifications. Adopted: 2015.

Read the WASPC policy

Recording of Interrogations

State statute requires that law enforcement record all custodial interrogations in their entirety if the suspect is a juvenile or if the interrogation relates to a felony offense. Interrogations that occur at a place of detention must be recorded by both audio and visual means. Interrogations at any other location must be recorded by audio at a minimum. "Places of detention", as defined, include, but are not limited to, police stations, police vehicles, and, in the case of juveniles, schools. The state must demonstrate by a preponderance of the evidence that an exception applies if the interrogation was not recorded, and a defendant may present the fact that a statement was not recorded to a jury. Effective: 2021.

Read the statute

Post Conviction DNA Testing

Any convicted felon who is serving a term of imprisonment may submit a request for post-conviction DNA testing to the court that entered the judgment of conviction. Effective: 2000; Amended most recently: 2005.

Read the statute.

Evidence Preservation

State statute requires that upon a motion from defense counsel or the court's own motion, a sentencing court in a felony case can order the preservation of any biological material secured in connection with a case. The court is obligated to specify both the samples and the length of time those samples must be preserved. Effective: 2000; Amended most recently: 2005.

Washington's statute does NOT meet the best practices standards outlined by the NIST Technical Working Group on Biological Evidence Preservation.

Read the statute.

Exoneree Compensation

Any person convicted in superior court and subsequently imprisoned for one or more felonies of which they are actually innocent may file a claim for compensation against the state. $50,000 for each year of imprisonment and time spent waiting for trial; an additional $50,000 for each year on death row; and $25,000 for each year spent on parole, community custody or on a sex offender registry. The state also pays for child support and attorney fees up to $75,000 and provides tuition assistance for all state colleges and universities. Effective: 2013.

Read the statute.

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