Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Eyewitness reforms headed to Senate floor

From Dave Mann at the Texas Observer:
It’s not often you can say a piece of legislation might save lives, but House Bill 215 might do just that.

Known as eyewitness ID reform, the bill would help prevent wrongful convictions in Texas. It would institute best practices for police lineups and greatly reduce the chances that witnesses will mistakenly send an innocent person to prison. Witness misidentification is the leading cause of wrongful convictions—it’s a factor in 75 percent of cases later overturned by DNA testing, according to the New York-based Innocence Project. Criminal justice reform advocates have tried for years to reform police lineups. And, finally, it seems the Texas Legislature will pass the bill.
The Senate is expected, perhaps as early as today, to debate HB 215. The bill—authored by Sen. Rodney Ellis (D-Houston) and Rep. Pete Gallego (D-Alpine)—has already passed the House. If senators pass it on Wednesday—and they unanimously approved an earlier version—the bill will go to Gov. Rick Perry, who’s indicated he plans to sign it into law. 
All I can say is better late than never;  this bill had the votes to pass two years ago and died in the Chub-fest over Voter ID at the end of the session. I understand Texas' latest DNA exoneree, Johnny Pinchback, will be on hand today for the bill's Senate passage.

See related Grits posts:


Thomas R. Griffith said...

Hey Grits, when you get some spare time could you post the names of those in the House & eventually the Senate that voted for & against HB 215?


Gritsforbreakfast said...

It was actually unanimous in both chambers.

Anonymous said...

What bother me is when they caught on camera.