State senator aims to eliminate wrongful conviction
Wrongful conviction is an issue that's been getting a lot of national attention lately. Some senators in Nebraska want to create a more foolproof policy on suspect identification by eyewitnesses.
Posted By: Nicole Cousins
Wrongful conviction is an issue that's been getting a lot of national attention lately.
Some senators want to create a more foolproof policy on suspect identification by eyewitnesses.
Thursday, they heard from a man who knows all too well what it's like when the system doesn't work.
Kirk Bloodsworth was sentenced to death in 1985 for a murder he didn't commit in Maryland.
His conviction was based on eyewitness testimony.
He was exonerated in 1992 after DNA evidence proved him innocent...
“Think about this...a crime is committed you have witnesses and people say we saw x y and z,” Bloodsworth said. “I think that we should work on every individual case. And certainly I don't think every case can be as extreme as my case, but certainly at the end of the day we have to do the most favorable to the person on trial.”
Nebraska state senator Patty Pansing Brooks wants to prevent wrongful convictions by implementing a policy for law enforcement agencies to follow when eyewitnesses identify suspects.
“Eyewitness misidentification has played a role in 70 percent of convictions that have been overturned by DNA evidence since testing became available,” Brooks said.
Of the 337 wrongful convictions that have happened in the U.S., 235 of those were because eyewitnesses pointed out the wrong guy.
Legislative Bill 846 would provide more rigid guidelines for suspect identification.
While most officials agree there needs to be a policy...not everyone thinks it should be a law.
But for people like Kirk Bloodsworth, they just want to see change.
“This is the presumption of innocence,” he said. “We don't convict them before they have the trial so we should do it right. And not just in the state of Nebraska but across the country.”
Senator Pansing Brooks says 60 percent of law enforcement agencies in Nebraska already have a policy on eyewitness identification.