News Release ~ 2002-10

Latest DNA exoneration highlights need for recording of interrogations

Death penalty would have killed innocent, left killer on street 

Washington, DC-- As the Innocence Project achieved its 110th DNA-related exoneration, that of Eddie Joe Lloyd in Michigan, who had confessed to a crime he did not commit, National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers President Lawrence Goldman issued the following statement:

"Had Michigan had a death penalty in 1984, Eddie Joe Lloyd would have been executed for a murder he did not commit. Indeed, at his sentencing, the judge complained that he was unable to sentence Lloyd to death. Lloyd’s case shows that our criminal justice system sometimes convicts innocent people. And sometimes these innocent people are put to death by the state.

"The death penalty is fallible. Unless we repeal it, we will continue to execute the innocent.

"To be sure, Lloyd’s confession, as related by the police at trial, sounded plausible. We now know, however, that it was false, that it was based upon information publicly available or supplied to Lloyd by the police.

"Coerced, police-fed confessions still exist in the criminal justice system. The police should be required by law to videotape all confessions – as they are in Minnesota, Alaska, Canada, Britain, and Australia. If such videotaping were mandatory, juries would be presented with more accurate information, there would be fewer cases like Eddie Joe Lloyd’s and fewer innocent people would be convicted."

Goldman is a criminal defense lawyer in New York City. He can be reached at (212)997-7499.

The National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers is the preeminent organization advancing the mission of the criminal defense bar to ensure justice and due process for persons accused of crime or wrongdoing. A professional bar association founded in 1958, NACDL's approximately 9,000 direct members in 28 countries – and 90 state, provincial and local affiliate organizations totaling up to 40,000 attorneys – include private criminal defense lawyers, public defenders, military defense counsel, law professors and judges committed to preserving fairness and promoting a rational and humane criminal justice system.

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