Testimony Needed for Witness Line-Up Bill on March 20

SB2304, which establishes common-sense protocols and procedures to make the witness identification process as fair as possible, is being heard by the House Judiciary Committee on Tuesday, 3/20/12. The bill requires HPD, when practicable, to use an officer who does not know which person is the suspect to run the line up. It also allows defense attorneys to argue that non-compliance with the procedures could be grounds to suppress evidence or claim mis-identification of suspects. Finally, it requires the Attorney General to train law enforcement officers on proper procedures for running witness identification line-ups.

Lawmakers have been moved by testimony concerning the large amount of falsely identified people who have suffered decades in jail for crimes they did not commit. The Alvin Jardine case in Maui is just one example, see: http://mauinews.com/page/content.detail/id/545411/Jardine-ruling-a-first-for-legal-program.html?nav=10

SB2304 is a critically important bill because as it stands now, there is no penalty when law enforcement fails to follow proper and fair procedures during a witness line up. It is very difficult to overcome a positive witness identification when you are the accused, even if you are in fact innocent. This bill will hopefully help prevent more tragedies like what befell Alvin Jardine, who spent 20 years in jail for a crime he did not commit.

Here is a link to the bill’s status, including a link to submit testimony:

http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/measure_indiv.aspx?billtype=SB&billnumber=2304

If you have any questions, contact my aide, Wally Inglis, at 586-7793. Mahalo and please spread the word.

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