Texas State Sen. Rodney Ellis writes in today’s Dallas Morning News that the state legislature should prioritize criminal justice reforms to prevent wrongful convictions in the next session. Ellis, who is also the Innocence Project Board Chairman, wrote about a package of legislation he will introduce in 2009 to overhaul eyewitness identification procedures in the state, require the videotaping of interrogations and mandate the disclosure of deals made with informants for their testimony.
Ultimately, the Texas Legislature, courts and local governments should take responsibility for wrongful convictions. We elected officials to ensure that police departments are adequately funded and officers are properly trained. We also must guarantee that impoverished people accused of crimes receive a quality defense. And the courts are ultimately responsible for ensuring that evidence is reliable, the innocent are freed and defendants' constitutional and due process rights are protected.
Read Ellis’ op-ed here
. (Dallas Morning News, 10/22/08)