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Wife of Wrongly Convicted North Carolina Man Anxious for Her Husband’s Release

Posted: Mar 05, 2015 05:18 PM

In an op-ed in the News & Observer Wednesday, Nannie Howard called for justice for her husband, Innocence Project client Darryl Howard, who has served over 20 years for a crime which DNA evidence proves he did not commit. 

Howard was arrested in 1992 for a double-murder in which both victims, a mother and her 13-year-old daughter, exhibited signs of sexual assault.  DNA testing on sperm found on the daughter’s body excluded Howard as the source. But instead of freeing Howard, the prosecution proceeded with the trial, convincing the jury that no sexual assaults took place. 

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President’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing Includes Recommendations to Protect the Innocent

Posted: Mar 05, 2015 02:00 PM

This week the President’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing released a report with numerous recommendations as to how police departments across the nation can improve best practices to effectively fight crime, while building working relationships with the communities they serve. The Task Force was formed by President Obama in December 2014 to address these issues and featured collaborative work by members of law enforcement, technical advisors, youth and community leaders, and representatives from nongovernmental organizations.

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Op-Ed: Tucson Police Chief Advocates for Proactive, Not Reactive, Policing

Posted: Mar 04, 2015 04:05 PM

In a recent opinion piece published by the Arizona Daily Star, Chief of the Tucson Police, Roberto Villaseñor, writes that his police force has implemented progressive, eyewitness identifications practices that will better prevent the misidentification of people during criminal investigation lineups.

Villaseñor—who is a member of the 21st Century Policing Commission recently created by President Obama and on the board of the Police Executive Research Forum— writes that his department has adopted “blind” administration of live and photo lineups—as recommended by the National Academy of Sciences October 2014 report,  , and the Innocence Project.  Blind administration requires that “the officer conducting the lineup or photo array is either unaware of the suspect or cannot see which photo the eyewitness is viewing by virtue of some form of technology,” according to Villaseñor. The police chief also says that interrogations will be recorded.

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Former Police Commissioner Says System Too Faulty for Death Penalty

Posted: Mar 03, 2015 06:05 PM

Citing recent death row exonerations and what he called the “enormous pressure” on law enforcement to quickly solve criminal cases, former Pennsylvania Police Commissioner Terence Inch expressed his opposition to the death penalty in an op-ed in the Patriot News on Tuesday.

“Mistakes happen too often, as evidenced by the fact that 150 men and women in the United States have been convicted and sent to death row - only to be released when conclusive evidence of their wrongful conviction emerged,” Inch wrote. “These cases involved all sorts of error, everything from mistaken eyewitnesses and junk science to false confessions. Six of those cases are from Pennsylvania.”

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Honolulu Police Department Adopts Sequential and Double-Blind Lineup Protocol

Posted: Mar 03, 2015 04:44 PM

In an effort to prevent wrongful convictions, the Honolulu Police Department is changing its photo lineup procedure, to now require that photos be shown sequentially, as opposed to six at a time as they have been presented traditionally. 

Former federal agent and retired police officer Tommy Aiu told Hawaii News Now that with “six-pack” lineups, the witness uses relative judgment, comparing each photo to the others in the group and to their memory of the perpetrator. With sequential lineups, the witness uses absolute judgment, comparing each photo only to their memory of the perpetrator.

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