Saturday, July 28, 2007

Justice 7-28-07

The General Assembly ratified bills this week that would standardize and improve eyewitness lineups and police interrogations. The Eyewitness ID Reform Act, House Bill 1625, requires standardized procedures for lineups of individuals or photos. Lineups must be conducted by someone who is not involved in the investigation and has no information about potential suspects. The lineup would also have to be presented sequentially and witness confidence levels of an ID must be recorded. The second bill, House Bill 1626, requires interrogations in a homicide investigation to be recorded by video or audio. The bills now go to the governor to be signed into law.

The House has agreed to study whether the thousands of people who were sterilized through the state eugenics program in the early 20th century should be compensated. Under House Bill 296, the Department of Health and Human Services will report the findings of the study to the General Assembly. In the early 20th century, 30 states implemented eugenics programs to sterilize those who where considered mentally handicapped or genetically inferior to prevent these issues from being passed on genetically.

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