July 16, 2014

NY Legislature Rejects Unjust Imprisonment Act

In February 2014, as I wrote at the time (here and here), New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman threw his weight behind a proposed new version of the state's statute permitting those wrongly imprisoned to recover against the State. The amended statute would loosen the stringent qualifiers, making it easier for somebody who was wrongly convicted and imprisoned to recover. According to the New York Law Journal, the proposed bill, although backed by the A.G., died in committee and never made it onto the Senate floor for a vote. Similarly, as previously reported, a proposed Commission on Prosecutorial Conduct was recently shot down by the NY legislature.

As more and more wrongful conviction cases come to light, it becomes increasingly apparent that there are fundamental flaws in our criminal justice system. These include, but are not limited to, the way in which the police are policed and the lack of any prosecutorial oversight and the safety net of absolute immunity for prosecutors. Albany's refusal to acknowledge the obvious, or take any steps to address these issues will only exacerbate these problems.

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