Monday, August 18, 2008

Race An Issue In Witness Identification

The Memphis Commercial Appeal profiles Jennifer Thompson-Cannino and Ronald Cotton. Thompson-Cannino mistakenly identified Cotton as the rapist in her 1984 attack. Cotton spent over 10 years in prison and was cleared when DNA evidence exonerated him. The two are now collaborating on a book called "Picking Cotton", which is expected to be published next year.

The Innocence Project, a legal group that has sought genetic testing and led the charge to free innocent inmates contributed much of the information for the article. the Project points out that since 1991, 218 people have been exonerated through DNA testing, and in more than three-quarters of the cases, mistaken eyewitness identifications were crucial in the wrongful convictions.

Hopefully with more proponents out there working on behalf of the wrongly accused, mistaken identity will be less of a problem.

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