Preventing the wrongful conviction of innocent individuals-that’s the purpose behind SB 732 heard by the Senate Judiciary Committee this week. Sponsored by Senator Joseph Keaveny (D-St. Louis) the bill would expand the taping of police interrogations, require police departments to develop standards for eyewitness identifications, and set guidelines for the collection and preservation of biological evidence.
Numerous witnesses, including Josh Kezer who spent 15 years in prison for a murder he didn’t commit, testified how mistaken eyewitnesses lead to wrongful convictions. Professor Paul Litton, from the University of Missouri Law School, testified that mistaken identification is a leading cause for wrongful convictions and that wrongful convictions cost the community because the real perpetrator is still free to commit more crimes. Professor Rodney Uphoff, also from the MU Law School, testified that many police departments support the taping of interrogations as it aids them in their investigative work. Opponents of the legislation included the prosecutor’s association that testified the bill would allow the guilty to go free on technicalities.
The MCC supports SB 732 as justice requires that the right individual be held accountable for the crime. The committee took no action on the bill.
Posted: February 28, 2014