Friday, May 01, 2009

New York Task Force on Wrongful Convictions

From the April 30, 2009, New York Times:

In one of his first major initiatives as the state’s top jurist, Jonathan Lippman, the chief judge of New York’s Court of Appeals, said he would create a permanent task force to examine wrongful convictions and recommend ways to minimize them.

Members of the task force, who are being selected by Judge Lippman, will include prosecutors, defense lawyers, scientists and lawmakers. They will have a broad mandate to examine police procedures, court rules and other issues involved in wrongful convictions.

A recent spate of high-profile cases have involved exoneration or overturned convictions, including those of Martin H. Tankleff, who was convicted in 1990 of bludgeoning his parents, and Jeffrey Deskovic, who was convicted that same year of raping and murdering a high school classmate. According to a report released last month by the New York State Bar Association, 53 people have been formally exonerated in New York since 1964, about half through the use of DNA testing.

Read the entire article. As the numbers of exonerations grow nationwide, we're beginning to realize how severe the problem of wrongful convictions has become. Other states need to follow New York's lead.

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