SACRAMENTO — Today, the California Assembly approved legislation that will help prevent wrongful convictions. Senate Bill 923, introduced by Senator Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco), will ensure that law enforcement agencies throughout the state adhere to evidence-based standards that protect against mistaken eyewitness identifications.
Kathy Sher, Legislative Advocate for the ACLU of California, had this response:
We commend the California Assembly for passing SB 923. SB 923 will help prevent wrongful convictions by establishing statewide eyewitness standards that we know improve the accuracy and reliability of eyewitness identifications. Several other states already have these standards in place. It's about time California caught up.
Since 1991, 66 Californians have been wrongly convicted and imprisoned because an eyewitness misidentified them. Nationwide, mistaken eyewitness identification played a role in over 70 percent of convictions that were later overturned by DNA testing.
The stakes are too high for California to lag on adopting these standards that we know work. We are heartened to see the California Legislature do its part to help keep innocent people out of prison. We hope Governor Brown will follow suit and sign SB 923 into law.