Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Witness Identifications a "top priority" for innocence movement

Texas Criminal Justice Integrity Unit describes itself as

an ad hoc committee created by Judge Barbara Hervey of the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals... created to review the strengths and weaknesses of the Texas criminal justice system. Furthermore, the TCJIU’s purpose is to bring about meaningful reform through education, training, and legislative recommendations. It is not a forum for any particular group, nor does it embrace the plan of one particular political party.
Its 2008 Annual Report of Activities, posted online via Grits for Breakfast (in its entirety here), contains this compelling quote:
TCJIU recognizes that one of the leading causes of false convictions is erroneous eyewitness identifications. TCJIU urges the legislature to address this issue during this session of the legislature. It is the position of the TCJIU that instituting reforms in the eyewitness identification procedures used by law enforcement agencies throughout Texas should have the highest priority of any efforts in the area of wrongful convictions.
And this one as well:
The TCJIU is committed to improving the reliability of confessions. Dr. Richard Leo and John Terzano of the Justice Project suggested possible ways to ensure that confessions are reliable, such as: recording the full interrogation, from the Miranda warning onward; proper interrogation practices; and improved waiver of rights forms.
Indeed, the Innocence Project of Florida has considered reform of eyewitness procedures a high priority for some time, along with our suggestion to record police interrogations, considering the wrongful convictions it to which it has contributed.

1 comment:

OliveRose said...

I hope you win this cause, it is another important issue, someone who is drilled for 24 hours straight, or promised "deals".. the Police can't make deals that is just a tactic they use to get them to talk. The first thing out of anyone's mouth should they be arrested is or detained is, "I want a Lawyer", the second word should be nothing.