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Why New York Needs Wrongful Conviction Reforms
Posted: June 8, 2012 2:15 pm
On May 30, Innocence Project Co-Director Barry Scheck and New York State Bar Association President Vincent Doyle III hosted a press conference in Albany urging the state to pass wrongful conviction reforms to prevent false confessions and misidentifications. The press conference included moving presentations from five New York exonerees as well as a Texas rape victim who mistakenly identified the wrong suspect; one of the three Duke University lacrosse players falsely accused of rape in 2006; and a North Carolina police captain whose department has successfully adopted interrogation and eyewitness reforms.
Watch the full press conference.
Read more about the press conference.
NY Law Expanding DNA Database Takes Effect
Posted: August 2, 2012 5:30 pm
Beginning Wednesday, almost anyone convicted of any crime in New York—felony or misdemeanor—will be required to submit a DNA sample to the state's criminal database.
Previously, only those convicted of felonies and certain misdemeanors were required to submit genetic samples. But earlier this year, Governor Andrew Cuomo reached a deal with state lawmakers to expand the DNA database.
Though touted as a wrongful conviction reform, an earlier version of the bill was criticized for not providing defendants with access to the database. The version that was passed includes a provision that allows defendants access in some cases, including murder and rape, which may help some wrongly convicted people prove their innocence if crime scene evidence matches to someone in the database.
Nevertheless, New York State has not shown initiative in adopting reforms to prevent wrongful convictions in the first place. Though New York has one of the highest wrongful conviction rates, it has not implemented many of the criminal justice reforms that other states have, such as recording interrogations and improving police lineup procedures. Addressing these concerns, Gov. Cuomo has promised to pursue additional measures.
Read Wednesday’s Reuters article about the DNA database expansion.
Read about the criminal justice reforms the Innocence Project advocates for New York State here and here.