Published April 17, 2007
Bills on Civilian Oversight of Police Move Forward
Police Accountability; Preventing Wrongful Conviction
Four major bills supported by the ACLU of San Diego & Imperial Counties to reinstate public access to police records and to protect citizens from wrongful conviction won approval in the state senate’s Public Safety Committee today.
SB 1019, which will overturn a California Supreme Court ruling in Copley Press v. San Diego that blocked the public from accessing records of police misconduct.
Three bills that curb the most common causes of wrongful conviction were also approved by legislators. They are:
SB 511 will require the electronic recording of the entire police interrogation in cases involving homicides or other serious felonies. This measure is designed to help end coerced confessions and protect both defendants and the police.
SB 609 will require the corroboration of testimony by jailhouse informants. One of the leading causes of wrongful convictions in death penalty cases is false testimony by informants.
SB 756 will require the appointment of a task force to draft mandatory guidelines for how police lineups are conducted, and for how photo arrays are ocnducted, to increase the accuracy of eyewitness identifications.
The California Attorneys for Criminal Justice, California Commission on the Fair Administration of Justice, Murder Victims’ Families of Reconciliation, National Black Police Association, and Taxpayers for Improving Public Safety, along with all three ACLU affiliates in California, are among the groups supporting these three bills.