This week Senator Joseph Keaveny (D-St. Louis) held a seminar to raise awareness on criminal justice reforms to prevent wrongful convictions. The seminar provided background information on SB 732, a bill filed by Senator Keaveny, that would require law enforcement to have written procedures regarding eyewitness identification, increase the use of recorded video interrogations, and provide for larger collection and preservation of biological evidence.
Professor Rodney Uphoff, of the University of Missouri School of Law, informed the audience of the need to have better procedures for eye witness identification. He said that DNA-based exonerations of the innocent showed that 75% of the cases involved mistaken eyewitness identifications. The audience got to participate in some memory tests and learned how easy it was to be wrong in their identification.
Professor Paul Litton of MU School of Law discussed the merits of video recording interrogations and provided positive feedback from various police departments who record interrogations.
Josh Kezer served 15 years in prison before he was exonerated for a murder he didn’t commit. He told the audience how mistaken identity from several individuals led to his arrest and wrongful conviction.
The seminar was arranged for the main stakeholders of the legislation including prosecutors, law enforcement, defense attorneys and lawmakers. SB 732 will have a public hearing in February.
Posted: January 31, 2014