Friday, April 27, 2007

Public Saftey 4-27-07

The House Judiciary Committee, on which I sit, has recommended adopting rules that law officers would have to follow when conducting eyewitness lineups. A state judicial commission on innocence proposed the changes a few years ago after evidence showed that lineups were often faulty and failed to reveal the actual criminals. In 75% of cases, when DNA evidence resulted in the convictions being overturned, there had been faulty identification. Some law enforcement trainers have taught officers the revised methods recommended by the commission, but they aren't obligated to. House Bill 1625 would require the training and use of the procedures, such as presenting the suspects or their pictures one at a time rather than all together, and having an officer not involved in the investigation conduct the lineup.

The state Department of Justice has unveiled an updated sex offender registry Web site to help people better track people convicted of sex crimes. The new site allows users to register to receive e-mail alerts when a sex offender moves in a neighborhood or near a school and to view maps that show where sex offenders live within a 5-mile radius of a specific address. A person also can receive emails about a specific offender. State law requires people convicted of sex-related crimes register with a local sheriff, and the online registry provides information about the criminal, including a photo.

Support for the death penalty appears to be waning in North Carolina, according to a recent poll. The Elon University poll reports that 58 percent of those people who responded support the death penalty, down from 66 percent in a poll conducted in November, 2005. Forty-eight percent say it's always the most appropriate punishment for first-degree murder, down from 61 percent in the earlier poll, while 38 percent said life in prison is most appropriate. Just 27 percent favored life in prison in the 2005 poll. The shift seems to be in part a result of some very high profile wrongful convictions and accusations (e.g., the Duke lacrosse case, Darryl Hunt, and Alan Gell) as well as concerns about participating in the executions expressed by members of the medical profession, both doctors and nurses.


1 comment:

Biby Cletus said...

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Warm Regards

Biby Cletus - Blog