Imagine walking down the street, shopping at the store, or being anywhere else that you regularly go when a crime happens. Imagine the shock you would feel if by chance you were mistakenly identified as involved or as the perpetrator by another bystander or by the police. Imagine your further shock if you ended up at the police station and were exposed to grueling interrogations lasting many hours until the point that your words were being twisted against you or that you would say almost anything to make them stop. Or you might be placed in a police lineup and be mistakenly identified as the perpetrator. Unfortunately these kinds of events are a reality for some and do lead to cases of wrongful conviction. Please remember that if you ever find yourself convicted of a crime it is important to call a qualified criminal defense lawyer to help protect your rights.
A recent article in the New York Daily News identified the lack of reform in New York as significantly leading to wrongful convictions via eyewitness misidentification and false confessions. Interrogations lasting 30 hours and misidentification in police lineups leading to 20 years in prison before being exonerated by DNA testing are some of the examples discussed. Unfortunately in cases where the perpetrator is misidentified due to aggressive police tactics or simple misidentification this leaves the real perpetrator free to commit additional crimes affecting the lives of even more people. It is interesting that for the 29 cases in New York where DNA was used to prove wrongful convictions, misidentification or false confession was involved in almost all instances.
Senator Michael Nozzolio (R-Seneca Falls) has sponsored a bill (S5875/A8157) that would require that police interrogations be fully videotaped and provide training for law enforcement on better eyewitness identification practices. A requirement to videotape interrogations would put New York into a crowd including almost half of all states. Such a bill is of benefit to all as it provides for consistent practices and helps to prevent aggressive police tactics from leading to wrongful convictions.