Seven Years Later, a Cause of Injustice Persists


Seven years ago this week,

Eddie Joe Lloyd

was exonerated in Detroit. He served 17 years in prison for a murder and rape he didn’t commit before DNA testing obtained by the Innocence Project led to his release. His conviction in 1985 had rested in large part on a false confession he gave to police while in a mental hospital for treatment. Although he signed a written confession and gave a tape-recorded statement, these came after 21 hours of interrogation, which had not been recorded. It was later revealed that police fed him details during the interrogation that he could not have known otherwise. Sadly, Lloyd passed away two years after his release.

As part of a settlement in Lloyd’s case, Detroit police said they would begin electronically recording all interrogations in crimes that could carry a sentence of life. The state of Michigan, however, does not have any law requiring the recording of interrogations. (

Sixteen states

have a law in place requiring the recording of interrogations in at least some investigations). In 2005,

Claude McCollum

was convicted of a murder in Lasing based in part on a hypothetical statement he made to police that he could have committed the crime while sleepwalking. Parts of his interrogation were recorded, but McCollum says he asserted his innocence several times during the interrogations, and these statements were not on tape.

That same year,

a task force formed by the Michigan State Bar Association

called for the state legislature to pass a law requiring the recording of custodial interrogations.

Research has shown

near-unanimous consent among more than 500 jurisdictions across the country – including cities in Michigan – that recording of interrogations assists law enforcement.

Other Exoneree Anniversaries This Week:

Lonnie Erby

, Missouri (Served 17 Years, Exonerated 8/25/03)

Michael Blair

, Texas (Served 13.5 Years, Exonerated 8/25/08)

Barry Laughman

, Pennsylvania (Served 16 Years, Exonerated 8/26/04)

Robert McClendon

, Ohio (Served 17 Years, Exonerated 8/26/08)

Bruce Nelson

, Pennsylvania (Served 9 Years, Exonerated 8/28/91)

Dwayne Dail

, North Carola (Served 18 Years, Exonerated 8/28/07)

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