NY Court of Appeals Addresses Cross-Racial Identification Jury Instruction

As NYLJ reports in an article titled Ex-Judges and Prosecutors Ask to Join Case on Cross-Racial Identification written by Andrew Danney, the NY Court of Appeals, sitting in White Plains courthouse starting noon today through Thursday, is to hear a case addressing jury instruction on cross-racial eyewitness identification and number of members of the New York legal community seek to become amici parties to the case.

As the legal representative for the group stated:

We tell juries everyday that they should scrutinize testimony carefully, so it’s not a great leap to ask a trial judge to tell a jury that they should look at cross-race identifications with special care.

 

Prosecutors Move to Dismiss Convictions Based on Faulty Forensic Evidence

In addition to establishing Conviction Integrity Units, state prosecutors have taken another big step beyond their adversarial role to correct wrongful convictions. See, David Lohr, Prosecutors Move to Dismiss Largest Number of Wrongful Convictions in U.S. History, HuffingtonPost (Apr. 18, 2017).

What is going on?

Yet another chilling story, this time from Florida’s Dade Correctional Institution, An Inmate Dies After Being Locked in a Scalding Shower for Two Hours. His Guards Won’t be Charged. The brutality and inhumane treatment is shocking, but what’s worse is the lack of accountability and proper oversight.

Prof. Mushlin on the Proposal to Close Rikers Island

In a recent article in the Daily News, The Prisoners We Should Put on Rikers, Pace Law Professor and nationally recognized expert on prisoners’ rights Michael B. Mushlin writes that although Mayor de Blasio’s announcement endorsing the recommendation of an  independent commission to close the Rikers Island jail complex is a step in the right direction, the better solution might be to keep Rikers operational to house prisoners from the five boroughs who would otherwise be sent upstate.

Prof. Mushlin points out:

For example, 58% of incarcerated individuals from the city’s metropolitan region are in prisons more than 200 miles from their homes. And remarkably, 27% of the entire state prison population is more than 300 miles from the county of commitment.

The location of New York prisons so far away makes maintaining meaningful family ties almost impossible. These ties are strongly associated with successful reintegration, lower recidivism rates and improved behavior while incarcerated.

Should DA’s Announce a Decision Not to Indict?

As reported in the New York Times in an article by Benjamin Weiser titled Should Prosecutors Chastise Those They Don’t Charge?, a recent announcement by New York prosecutors that they would not be indicting Mayor Bill DeBlasio leads to an interesting debate.

Prosecutors have become more willing to speak publicly about their decision not to file charges in high-profile cases. Not surprisingly, some object.