January 13, 2012
The Supreme Court this week made it harder for criminal defendants to challenge one of the most common flaws in the criminal justice system: the use of mistaken eyewitness evidence. The 8-1 decision needlessly narrows the ability of judges to suppress eyewitness testimony marred by inconsistency or other indications of error, leaving the task of evaluating the reliability of such evidence to juries. Statistics show that 76% of 250 convictions overturned since 1989 because of DNA evidence involved mistaken eyewitness identification.
January 11, 2012 |
The Supreme Court refused to put new legal limits on the use of questionable eyewitness testimony at trials, ruling Wednesday that juries must weigh the evidence and decide what is true. The 8-1 decision came as a disappointment to some criminal law experts who say false identifications by eyewitnesses are a leading cause of wrongful convictions. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg acknowledged the problem, but disagreed that the right solution was to have judges consider the reliability of all eyewitness testimony prior to trials.
September 8, 2011
To many Americans — including many jurors — eyewitness testimony is the gold standard when it comes to evidence. But studies demonstrate that a variety of factors can lead to the misidentification of criminals. Nationally, more than 75% of convictions that have been overturned because of DNA evidence involved erroneous eyewitness testimony. Now the influential New Jersey Supreme Court has instructed police and judges to take into account an array of responses that might prevent mistaken identifications.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
June 11, 2004 |
Cheri Sainz doesn't think of herself as a hero. In fact, she's not even convinced that she made a difference. But Los Angeles County law enforcement officials disagree. To them, Sainz did something important: She testified. A 25-year-old wife and mother, Sainz witnessed two gang-related shootings within five months. Earlier this year, her testimony in two trials helped convict both killers, who were sentenced to prison.
August 22, 2000 |
Kevin Lee Green, DeWayne McKinney, Herman Atkins and now Arthur Carmona. All were convicted of serious crimes, largely on the testimony of eyewitnesses. All were incarcerated. And all walked free--some, decades later--before their sentences ran their course.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
June 6, 1999 |
The reader was, if nothing else, succinct: "Enough on the Carmona case. You have gone way past reporting, past even advocacy, and have arrived at mania. You are biased and one-sided. Move on." That sentiment doesn't represent anywhere near the majority of my mail on the Arthur Carmona case, but it's a fair challenge. Why have I written, as of today, eight columns in the last month about Carmona's conviction on two armed robbery counts?