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Posts Tagged ‘eyewitness identification’

Why better eyewitness ID procedures matter

Because bad eyewitness ID procedures can lead to the wrong people being executed. State Sen. Rodney Ellis, D-Houston, and Rep. Pete Gallego, D-Alpine, stopped short of claiming Texas wrongfully executed suspect Carlos DeLuna for the February 1983 murder of store clerk Wanda Lopez. Gallego, however, said the way Corpus Christi police handled the suspect’s identification […]

One good thing that can be said about this session

A fair number of innocence-related bills have been passed this session. Some of them might have been passed in 2009 had it not been for the voter ID-killing chubfest, for others it was just that the stars finally aligned. Grits and Dave Mann have the details. Hopefully, the voices in Rick Perry’s head are not […]

House eyewitness ID bill passes

Another step forward. The Texas House, aiming to reduce the number of wrongful convictions, approved legislation Wednesday that would require law enforcement agencies to begin standardizing the way eyewitnesses identify criminal suspects. The unanimously approved bill would require police to adopt written policies to determine how they conduct photographic or live lineups. Agencies would be […]

Eyewitness ID reform passes the Senate

Good. As approved 31-0 by senators, Senate Bill 121 by state Sen. Rodney Ellis, D-Houston, will require law enforcement agencies in Texas to adopt best-practice standards for eyewitness identification — in both photo and live lineups — where there is no such law now. A 2008 study found that only 12 percent of police departments […]

Eyewitness ID bills advance

Grits: Sen. Rodney Ellis’ eyewitness ID bill passed out of committee unanimously, with an an inconsequential cleanup amendment from Sen. Joan Huffman, just as Chairman Pete Gallego’s companion bill passed out of House Criminal Jurisprudence Committee last week. Since that legislation two years ago died because of time as opposed to any vocal opposition (and […]

Keeping track of innocence-related bills

From Grits: The House Criminal Jurisprudence Committee has posted an agenda which includes three important pieces of innocence legislation carried by Chairman Pete Gallego: HB 215 Relating to photograph and live lineup identification procedures in criminal cases. HB 219 Relating to the electronic recording and admissibility of certain custodial interrogations. HB 220 Relating to procedures […]

Ellis’ innocence bills

As he has done for the past several sessions, State Sen. Rodney Ellis has introduced numerous bills that will address issues of wrongful convictions and criminal justice procedures designed to help prevent them from happening. Ellis is proposing an “Innocence Protection Package,” four bills aimed at decreasing the number of wrongful convictions in Texas. Rep. […]

Beyond DNA exonerations

We’re all familiar with the way the Dallas DA’s office has handled using DNA to review cases in which a defendant’s guilt may have been in question. Now that most of the cases in which DNA evidence still exists have been reviewed, they are moving on to other kinds. The emphasis of the conviction integrity […]

Parker’s crimefighting plan

Tis the season for Mayoral candidates to send out position papers on various issues. I’ve gotten a couple in my mailbox in the past few days and want to spend a little time examining them. First up is Annise Parker’s Plan For 21st Century Policing In Houston. My thoughts on this are as follows. – […]

HPOU touts its opposition to eyewitness ID reform

Here’s a clip from the Houston Police Officers’ Union publication, Badge and Gun (June/July 2009 issue), written by HPOU President Gary Blankinship, detailing how HPOU successfully helped lead the fight against a couple of bills by State Sen. Rodney Ellis that were aimed at reducing the frequency of unjust convictions. The bills were SB117, which […]

Legislative wrapups

With sine die in the rearview mirror, tis the season for legislative wrapups. Here are a couple I’ve come across. – First, from Bike Texas, which had the fairly easy task of just following one bill: The final version of the Safe Passing Bill, SB 488, was passed yesterday [Saturday] by the Texas House. Today, […]

Innocence, exoneration, and compensation

We’ve seen all of the stories about inmates being freed from jail in Texas after however many years inside, the result of DNA evidence proving they could not have committed the crime for which they were convicted. But what happens to these men once they are freed? Often, it’s not so good. Wiley Fountain spent […]

Your eyes may deceive you

The Chron covers a report by the Justice Project about faulty eyewitness testimony and the many wrongful convictions to which it has led. Most wrongful convictions in Texas stem from mistaken eyewitness identifications, errors that experts say could have been avoided — or even eliminated — with more sophisticated lineup techniques, according to a report […]

On DNA testing and innocence

I’m glad to hear that District Attorney Pat Lykos is going to examine cases of wrongful conviction in Harris County. I’m sure there are plenty more than the five she plans to highlight, but the fact that she wants to focus attention on the issue and to require DNA testing in cases where it may […]