Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Gov. Schwarzenegger Vetos Wrongful Conviction Measures

Question, when does a Governor not want to sign a law related to criminal justice? Answer when to it creates any new restrictions on law enforcement. So may be it is a no brainer that our sometimes independent and unpredictable Governator vetoed three bills passed by the legislature that would have enacted recommendations made by an expert commission created by the California Senate in 2004 to address the root causes of wrongful convictions in violent crime cases, such as those documented in recent years through DNA testing. Associations of police chiefs and sheriffs opposed all three measures according to Bob Egelko's reporting in the Chron.

Still its worth noting that the recommendations made by a commission that included law enforcement and prosecutors were modest and in line with most expert opinion on interrogation and other police practices to collect evidence. One measure would have required video-taping complete interrogations in violent crime cases. A step that would make it possible to determine with precision whether police used techniques that create a high risk of false confession. A second measure would have barred the use of testimony from a "jailhouse informant" unless corroborated by another witness. Such informants have powerful incentives to make up incriminating statements they attribute to the defendant. A third measure addressed ways of making sure police do not influence witnesses at line-ups and photo line-ups of suspects. In all three cases the Governor emphasized that the laws would have in some way limited the flexibility of law enforcement. But that is what law does. On that basis he might have vetoed every law enacted this last session.

1 comment:

AWC said...

Wrongful convictions in our judicial system, is the same as a witch hunt.
Remember, it could happen to you!