San Jose Mercury News: Santa Clara County DA program aims to boost reliability of eyewitness identifications

According to the Innocence Project, eyewitness misidentification is the single greatest cause of wrongful convictions nationwide, playing a role in more than 75% of convictions overturned through DNA testing. Implementing this program is a step in the right direction to make sure that justice can be properly carried out.  Submission post by Charisse Domingo

SANTA CLARA COUNTY DA PROGRAM AIMS TO BOOST RELIABILITY OF EYEWITNESS IDENTIFICATIONS

By Tracey Kaplan
02/04/2012 06:40:08 AM PST

To boost the reliability of eyewitness identifications, every police department in Santa Clara County has recently begun videotaping or recording most witnesses as they pick out a suspect from a set of photos or a live lineup.

The practice, spearheaded by District Attorney Jeff Rosen, is the latest technique law enforcement agencies across the nation are using to try to reduce wrongful convictions. In the Bay Area, police in San Francisco, Oakland and Pleasant Hill are among those who also have adopted it.

But Santa Clara County is believed to be the only county in the state where every police agency from the Highway Patrol to campus officers at San Jose State has signed a protocol agreeing to it.

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Santa Clara County DA’s Office to Now Consider “Collateral Consequences” — Policy Shift Bodes Well for Immigrants

Santa Clara County District Attorney Jeff Rosen

As stated in a recently released document, the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office announced they will change their policy regarding the consideration of collateral consequences (such as possible deportation consequences for a minor conviction) when negotiating plea agreements. The memo states, “It is not generally the duty of a prosecutor to mitigate the collateral consequences to a defendant of his or her crime. However, in those cases where the collateral consequences are significantly greater than the punishment for the crime itself, it is incumbent upon the prosecutor to consider and, if appropriate, take reasonable steps to mitigate those collateral consequences.”  Continue reading