Action Alert: Call Legislators Now: Help Save Witness Id. Reform?

Senate Bill 1206, Witness Identification Reform Act, sponsored by Sen. Joe Negron (R-Palm City), passed the full Senate on April 29, 2011, with a vote count of 34-5.

We asked you to reach out to your Senators and Representatives and you have. Thank you. You have made a difference in the Legislative process. There is still more to do.

Call To Action

The Witness Identification Reform Act will make a difference by removing suggestiveness from the identification process, and diminishing misidentifications that cause wrongful convictions IF it is passed by the Florida House of Representative.

For this to happen—the full House to consider and pass SB 1206—it must be placed on the Special Order Calendar THIS WEEK. The House Rules & Calendar Committee meets to set the calendar for the next day at 8:00 PM each night this week. At this time, they will determine what bills the House will consider the following day.

We are asking you to contact:

-Speaker of the House, Rep. Dean Canon (850) 488-2742 or email;
-Majority Leader, Rep. Carlos Lopez-Cantera (850) 488-4202 or email; and
-Chairman of the Rules and Calendar Committee, Rep. Gary Aubuchon (850) 488-7433 or email.

Thank them for their hard work, urge them to place SB 1206 on the Special Order Calendar for consideration by the full House this week, and to support this vital piece of legislation when it comes up for a vote. Remember we need you to call tonight before the Rules and Calendar Committee meets at 8 PM. If you can’t call tonight, please call each day until SB 1206 is put on the Special Order Calendar.

Additional Information About the Bill
Just as a reminder, the bill provides for:

-double-blind administration of line-ups using an independent administrator to prevent influencing the witness’s selection, however inadvertently;
-cost-effective alternatives to the independent administrator;
-standard instructions for eyewitnesses before viewing the line-ups; and
-educational materials and training programs for law enforcement on how to conduct line-ups.

This is a fiscally neutral bill. In fact, this bill promises to save Florida money. In the three DNA exonerations that were cleanly tied to misidentification (i.e. no other contributing factors), the State has already paid out more than $3 million.

Thank you. Please let me know if you have questions.

Seth Miller, Esq.
Executive Director

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