John Cheves’ well-written articles regarding House Bill 387, which addresses wrongful convictions based on incorrect or coerced witness identifications, should remind us of two vital facts: Convictions are overwhelmingly based on witnesses and confessions, not forensic evidence such as DNA.
Law enforcement is free to lie with impunity during interrogations. They may tell a suspect, “It is not looking good for you, Joe, your friend Frank says you did it,” although Frank never implied much less said that. “If you confess, we will urge the prosecutor to go easy on you.”
J.D. Chaney, the Kentucky League of Cities’ deputy executive director, said “you” don’t want “a legislature dictating what the local policy has to be.” This assertion indicates either a complete lack of understanding of constitutional law and civil liberties or an uncaring attitude toward those who have been or will be wrongfully convicted via eyewitness testimony.
He would believe differently if one of his loved ones or friends was serving time for a crime he or she did not commit. Kentuckians should contact their lawmakers and urge a fair hearing for and swift passage of this bill, if for no other reason: “Justice for one is justice for all.”