Press Statement
From the Office of State Senator Rodney Ellis

For Media Use Only
November 19, 2008
Contact: Tina Tran, 512-463-0113

Senator Ellis Responds to Justice Project Report

"Texas has the sad distinction of leading the nation in wrongful convictions exposed by DNA. We know that the great majority of those cases are caused by bad eyewitness evidence. There can be no question that we must act.

The report issued today by The Justice Project reveals troubling, systemic problems in how lineups are conducted in Texas. I was shocked to learn that so few law enforcement agencies have any written policies at all to guide either photo or live lineup procedures, and that even fewer have appropriate safeguards in place to ensure the best quality evidence possible.

I have pre-filed SB 117, which would require Texas law enforcement agencies to adopt written policies for conducting these crucial eyewitness procedures, and would require that those policies include key safeguards against error. The vast majority of law enforcement agencies have been unaware or unwilling to implement the scientifically-founded best practices that prevent the kinds of eyewitness errors we have seen throughout our state-despite the fact that they have been available for many years now. At this point, the only responsible solution is to require law enforcement agencies to adopt written lineup policies that meet standards set by science. That is why I have pushed, and continue to push, for this action in the Senate. We've seen the problems with eyewitness lineup procedures, and now it's time to solve them."