BGA, Center on Wrongful Convictions call for reforms

October 3, 2011 2:46:06 PM PDT
Since 1976, 85 people were wrongly convicted in Illinois and together, spent 926 years in prison for crimes they didn't commit, according to BGA report.

The findings were first reported by ABC7 over the summer, but released in full Monday by Andy Shaw, president of the Better Government Association, which joined the Center on Wrongful Convictions to conduct the study. Shaw called the convictions shameful.

He said they cost taxpayers $214 million and left real criminals free to commit more crimes. Investigators praised an Illinois reform requiring that homicide suspect interrogations be recorded.

"But we need to expand that to all felony interrogations. And we also need to record interviews with witnesses, who we documented on many occasions have been coerced to lie and falsely implicate people," Rob Warden, Center for Wrongful Convictions, said.

Warden said another needed reform is to train police to conduct lineups without leading witnesses to identify a particular suspect.

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