After Rochester Man Is Cleared For Murder He Did Not Commit, Senator Schneiderman Renews Call For Wrongful Conviction Legislation
NEW YORK – After 18 years in prison for a murder he did not commit, Frank Sterling was exonerated Wednesday. DNA evidence identified Mark Christie as the actual perpetrator of the 1988 murder of an elderly woman for which Sterling was convicted in 1992. According to the Innocence Project, Christie recently gave multiple detailed confessions that included facts that were not known to police or the public and have been backed up by prosecutors. Senator Eric Schneiderman, the Chair of the Codes Committee which oversees criminal justice policy, hailed the exoneration and renewed his push for wrongful conviction legislation that would preserve post-conviction DNA evidence and mandate electronic recording of entire interrogations. “Every time an innocent man is sent to prison, the real criminal is let off the hook. The exoneration of Frank Sterling is a wake up call to take action in order to prevent another wrongful conviction from happening again. Let’s not waste this opportunity to make New York’s criminal justice system more fair, reliable and just,” said Senator Eric Schneiderman. Last fall, Senator Schneiderman introduced the “Actual Innocence Act of 2009” (S.5234). The bill creates a freestanding ground of “actual innocence” upon which a criminal court could grant a motion to vacate its prior conviction where a defendant is able to present “reliable and relevant” proof that “conclusively establishes” actual innocence of the crime of which he or she was convicted.
State Senator David J. Valesky (D-Oneida) today applauded thepassage of several bills in the State Senate that mark the celebration ofEarth Day, and provide protections to reduce pollution and improve publichealth.“As a state, we continue to make good progress enacting policies thatprotect our environment, reduce the amount of pollution and protect againstexposure to harmful chemicals,” Senator Valesky said.