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Univ. of San Diego School of Law

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Monday, October 29, 2007

Florida PD's Office Calls for Eye Witness Reform

From sun-sentinel.com: When a bad ID by an eyewitness can land an innocent man in prison for almost 14 years, it's time to kick-start change, says Broward Public Defender Howard Finkelstein.

Trying to remove bias from what he says can be misleading police-lineup procedures, Finkelstein sent a letter last week to Broward law enforcement officials suggesting reforms. This action brings Broward in line with a growing national movement to prevent mistaken witness identification.

The DNA exoneration last month of Larry Bostic, 50, of Fort Lauderdale, prompted Finkelstein's Oct. 23 letter. A Broward judge tossed Bostic's prison sentence — 13 days shy of its completion — after DNA tests showed he was not the man who raped a Fort Lauderdale woman in 1988.

Bostic's accuser recently told an investigator she never saw her rapist. She picked Bostic out of a photo lineup, she said, because she had seen him in the neighborhood in the days before the attack.

Simple extra precautions could keep this from happening again, Finkelstein said. Rest of Article. . . [Mark Godsey]

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