Top Stories on the Justice Newsladder, 4.17.08

Here are the top stories in criminal justice reform, taken from the Justice Newsladder.

Robert J. Caulley is serving 25 years to life in Ohio for his parents' murder in 1994, but claims that police extracted a false confession from him. A hair found at the crime scene that his public defender wanted tested from the beginning is finally being tested for a DNA match. A mismatch would cast serious doubt on Caulley's guilt. (

Thomas Clifford McGowan Jr. became the 16th inmate since 2001 in Dallas County to be cleared through DNA testing, after 23 years in prison on a rape and burglary conviction based on false eyewitness identification. Dallas County has cleared more prisoners based on DNA evidence than any other county in the United States. (

The Tennessee Senate's measure that would require taping of police interrogations is up for deliberation in the Judiciary Committee this week. The measure would follow motions taken elsewhere to reduce the number of false confessions, like the one instituted by the Detroit Police Department which requires videotaped interrogations of all suspects facing a possible life sentence. The Detroit measure came after a retarded man spent 17 years in prison for confessing to a rape and murder which he did not commit. (

Lastly, there's the harrowing story of Herbie Gonzalez of Los Angeles. Gonzalez spent 193 days in custody for a high-profile murder before a judge threw out the charges due to his interrogators' false promises of leniency which caused him to make an incriminating statement, and evidence that he was not fully made aware of his Miranda rights. Detectives have since found a suspect whose DNA matches evidence found at the crime scene. (

The Justice Project, an organization which aims to address unfairness and inaccuracy in the American criminal justice system, is proud to sponsor the Justice Newsladder, a new tool to find the top news and articles about criminal justice reform.

Tags: coerced confessions, Criminal justice reform, false confessions, miranda rights, wrongful conviction (all tags)



Re: Top Stories on the Justice Newsladder, 4.17.08

OMG, such incredible stories.

I believe the only thing we can do is abolish the death penalty.  But we still need to do so much more to stop the imprisonment of all these innocent people.

by LindaSFNM 2008-04-17 04:17PM | 0 recs
I like the idea of taping confessions.

I think it protects both the police and the suspect.

As for DNA evidence, while it has helped free some wrongly-convicted people, I have mixed feelings about it.  If we relied so heavily on it that it is always the trump card, it would make it easier to set someone up.  I like the idea of using it to prove innocence but like it less to prove guilt...except in certain types of cases.

by GFORD 2008-04-19 07:03AM | 0 recs


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