Overhaul of Eye Witness Identification Procedures in the Courts

The New York Times article, New Jersey Ruling on Witnesses May Prod New York to Change, begins by taking a look at the first state to question accepted practices involving eye witness identification. It cites decades of research about the unreliability of memory and its vulnerability to manipulation, whether intentional or not. Of particular mention is the significant role misidentification played in over 70% of the first 250 DNA exonerations. As the title says, it notes the likelihood that New York will follow suit and re-evaluate their practices. The first sample tweet below is about Connecticut doing the same. We hope and expect more to come.bbranhamportrait1

Why now? Mainly due to the tireless efforts of the Innocence Project and the Innocence Network. Resistance has been monumental, but the inability of the established system to scrutinize itself and make adjustments has been evident to everyone else. We need to capitalize on the prevailing winds and urge our legislatures to enact substantial and truly revolutionary reforms.
 
The indefensible execution of Troy Davis illustrates the need for monumental reforms. The attention Troy's case received in the media has made the country ripe for a fresh examination of decades old practices. Concerned citizens ought to be adding their concerns to this movement by calling their state legislators saying, "We don't want to be another 'Georgia'." This is no less important for a state without the death penalty, such as Michigan. As someone commented, "Had Troy Davis not been given the death penalty, his case may not have ever surfaced in the news, and he would have lingered for 3 more decades with nothing but his inevitable natural death to end it." The reality is that wrongfully convicted persons' lives are being stolen from them, whether they have been given a death sentence or a long prison sentence. For every execution that gets the public's attention there are hundreds of people receiving wrongful convictions with very few people taking notice, except immediate family and friends.

Pull together friends or a group you are already a part of and make a strategy of how to get reforms initiated in your state, death penalty or not. Make a difference!
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