Criminal Justice Reform Legislation Heard by Senate Judiciary Committee

This week the MCC testified before the Senate Judiciary and Civil and Criminal Jurisprudence Committee in support of two measures that would enhance the fairness and accuracy of the criminal justice system.

Senate Bill 303, sponsored by Senator Joe Keaveny (D-St. Louis), would require law enforcement agencies to develop certain policies for eyewitness identification procedures to enhance accuracy. The MCC believes these best practices are important as mistaken eyewitness identification is the greatest contributing factor for wrongful convictions, playing a role in about 75 percent of convictions later overturned through DNA testing.

Senate Bill 304, also sponsored by Senator Keaveny, would outline provisions for the recording of criminal interrogations. Interrogations are a vital tool in gathering information to solve a case. The MCC believes this legislation is needed to protect law enforcement from false claims of abuse or coercion, while at the same time protecting a vulnerable person from giving a false confession. A recorded interrogation can provide important transparency to a jury deciding a case.

The Senate Committee took no action on either bill.

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