Monday, October 1, 2007
From NYTimes.com: State lawmakers across the country are adopting broad changes to criminal justice procedures as a response to the exoneration of more than 200 convicts through the use of DNA evidence.
All but eight states now give inmates varying degrees of access to DNA evidence that might not have been available at the time of their convictions. Many states are also overhauling the way witnesses identify suspects, crime labs handle evidence and informants are used.
At least six states have created commissions to expedite cases of those wrongfully convicted or to consider changes to criminal justice procedures. One of them, the California Commission on the Fair Administration of Justice, will hold a hearing this month on remedies for people who have been wrongfully convicted.
Laws in several states, including Illinois, New Jersey and North Carolina, have bipartisan backing, with many Democrats supportive on civil rights grounds and Republicans generally hoping that tighter procedures will lead to fewer challenges of convictions Rest of Article. . . [Mark Godsey]