In the next few days, leading criminal justice experts will release their recommendations on improving Vermont’s criminal justice system to prevent and address wrongful convictions.
In an op-ed published today in the Rutland Herald, Innocence Project Policy Director Stephen Saloom writes that legislation passed this year in Vermont advanced the state’s justice system. The reform package provided DNA testing access to convicted people, created a system for compensating the exonerated. The legislation also created task forces to review procedures on evidence preservation, recording of interrogations and eyewitness identification procedures. Saloom, Massachusetts exoneree
and many criminal justice experts testified at the Vermont Legislature in support of the reforms this year. The panels are scheduled to release their findings in the coming days.
Since the task forces were formed, five more innocent people have been exonerated through DNA evidence. The state Legislature and the task forces are positioned to prevent such injustice in Vermont. The opportunity to enhance the state's criminal justice system is in their hands. In the next few days, we'll find out what they choose to do with it.
Read the full op-ed here
. (Rutland Herald, 12/19/2007)