Posted: April 12, 2013 4:45 PM
In two recent editorials, the Buffalo News called on the New York State Senate to pass wrongful conviction reforms. The reforms, which would implement double-blind line-ups and recording of interrogations, were included in Governor Andrew Cuomo’s State of the State speech as top priorities for this legislative session.
The News writes:
In his speech, Cuomo pushed for reforms that recognize the obvious: With 27 people having been exonerated in New York of crimes they did not commit, the state needs to take practical steps to reduce the chances of wrongful conviction.
It can be done. Other states have done it. Prosecutors, defense lawyers and judges in New York have endorsed it. All that is needed is for the New York State Senate to stop ignoring a fundamental matter of law and order, crime prevention and public safety.
Eyewitness misidentification has been a factor in nearly 75% of wrongful convictions overturned by DNA evidence and false confessions have contributed to 25%. In a second editorial, which focuses mainly on the lack of resolution to the wrongful conviction lawsuit in the Central Park Five case, the News again takes the opportunity to call for reform in these two areas:
The state also needs to reform its criminal justice procedures to guard against wrongful convictions, but it hasn’t done that, either. In particular, the problems of witness misidentification and false confession need to be addressed. There are ways to do that. Other states – even Texas – have taken steps to fix their broken systems. New York hasn’t.
With Governor Cuomo in favor and the New York Assembly on board, this is the year for the New York Senate to pass a bill to make wrongful conviction reform a reality in New York State. If you live in New York, join us in calling on your Senator to pass a reform bill this year.
Read the full editorials here and here.
Read more about eyewitness identification reform and recording of interrogations.
See what reforms have passed in your state.
Join with the 65,000 people who are committed to helping free the innocent.