Advisory Event for Wednesday, May 30: Innocence Project and New York State Bar Association

ALBANY, NY (05/29/2012)(readMedia)--

Contact: Paul Cates,; 212-364-5346

Alana Massie,; 212-364-5983

Lise Bang-Jensen,; 518-487-5530

Mark Mahoney,; 518-487-5530

Innocence Project and New York State Bar Association

Urge Lawmakers to Enact Wrongful Conviction Reforms

Crime Victim, Law Enforcement, Wrongly Convicted and Family Members Explain Why Reforms Needed to Improve Police Identification Procedures and Interrogations

According to New Data, No NY Police Departments Report Using Best Practices for ID Procedures

WHAT: The Innocence Project and the New York State Bar Association call on the Legislature to pass reforms to prevent misidentifications and false confessions, two of the leading causes of wrongful convictions in New York.

WHO: Innocence Project Co-Director Barry Scheck; State Bar President Vincent E. Doyle III; Michele Mallin, a rape victim who through faulty police practices misidentified her attacker; Captain Michael Smathers of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg (N.C.) Police Department who endorses these reforms; Reade Seligmann, who along with two lacrosse teammates at Duke University was falsely accused of rape in 2006; Jonathan Gradess, Executive Director of the New York State Defenders Association; and New York exonerees: Steven Barnes (and his mother Sylvia Barnes ) wrongly convicted in Utica, NY; Fernando Bermudez, wrongly convicted in New York, NY; Jeff Deskovic, wrongly convicted in Westchester, NY; Alan Newton, wrongly convicted in Bronx, NY; and Frank Sterling, wrongly convicted in Rochester, NY;

WHEN: Wednesday, May 30, 2012

1:30 p.m.

WHERE: Room 130 (LCA Press Conference Room)

Legislative Office Building, Albany, New York

WHY: Despite the fact that New York has the third highest number of wrongful convictions nationwide, the state Legislature repeated has failed for years to take action to prevent these injustices in the future. Simple reforms that would improve eyewitness identifications and help prevent false confessions -- two of the leading causes of wrongful convictions -- have been embraced by other states including New Jersey, Connecticut, Texas and North Carolina.

The Innocence Project will release new data showing that no police departments across the state reported following best practices for police identification procedures.

New York can and should become a national leader in adopting the reforms that can best prevent wrongful convictions and protect the public. Because when the wrong person is convicted of a crime, the real perpetrator is left free to commit other crimes.