NEW YORK – Jonathan Lippman, Chief Judge of the New York Court of Appeals, announced today the creation of a task force that will examine ways to prevent wrongful convictions. The panel, which will include lawmakers, prosecutors, defense attorneys and scientists, is permanent and will continually recommend improvements in court practices, legislation, and training for attorneys, judges and police.
As a member of the task force, Senator Eric Schneiderman (D-Manhattan/Bronx) hailed the chief judge’s dedication to reforming criminal justice practices that have sent innocent people to prison.
“By advancing this issue as one of his first major initiatives on the Court of Appeals, Chief Judge Lippman is sending a clear message that ending wrongful convictions is a top priority. He ought to be commended for taking this unprecedented step towards developing a fairer criminal justice system,” said Sen. Schneiderman. “Since 1964, 53 people have been formally exonerated in this state. But even one innocent person punished for a crime they did not commit is too many. Exoneration is not just about freeing the innocent, it’s about convicting the guilty.”
“For too long, New York led the nation in wrongful convictions – I am confident that we will now lead the nation in ending them,” Sen. Schneiderman added.