Alarmed that Boston is second only to Chicago in wrongful convictions, Massachusetts attorneys are urging a formal “Innocence Commission” to review nearly two dozen cases in which the wrong man was imprisoned, says the Boston Herald. “We have a very disturbing level of frequency of these cases for the size of our state,” said Andrew Good, president-elect of the Massachusetts Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. The group is preparing a formal petition for state officials. The lawyers want the Supreme Judicial Court to take the lead in establishing such a panel, as other state high courts have done recently, because the court has “broad powers of superintendency” over the judicial system.
The commission would have subpoena power and would be comprised of law enforcement officers, experts on DNA testing and eyewitness identification, prosecutors, and defense lawyers. It would review in detail what went wrong in the cases of 22 men wrongfully convicted since 1982 and establish reforms to prevent similar mistakes in the future.
The Herald and Fox 25 reported in detail this week on the wrongful convictions of 17 men in Suffolk County during the past two decades. Most cases were investigated by Boston police.