Sunday, December 30, 2007

Standards Needed for Eyewitness ID

Rep. Stephanie Stuckey Benfield has done an outstanding job chairing the bi-partisan study committee on eyewitness identification and is hopeful that the General Assembly will pass legislation setting standards for eyewitness identifications. This is not about being soft on crime-it's about being tough on those who are actually guilty. The committee heard from experts and from three former Georgia inmates, all convicted based on eyewitness testimony, and all ultimately exonerated. Locking up innocent people keeps no one safer. In fact, it makes us all less safe. Not only does the person actually responsible for the crime go free, but scarce resources are expended confining people who pose no threat. Benfield correctly predicts that even "law and order" Georgians will demand that standards for eyewitness testimony be adopted. Let's hope that the General Assembly will follow the committee's recommendation.

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