Contact: Chris Perry
Police Forum Report Undermines Impartial Investigations, Promotes Wrongful Convictions, CPI Claims
WASHINGTON / October 4, 2016 – In observance of Wrongful Conviction Day, a leading criminal justice reform group is calling on the Police Executive Research Forum to remove a recent report that promotes “victim-centered” investigations. The PERF report, titled “Identifying and Preventing Gender Bias in Law Enforcement Response to Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence,” describes the “victim-centered” approach as handing “control of the process back to the victim” and asserts the complainant has a “right” to “request certain investigative steps not be conducted.” (1)
The non-profit Center for Prosecutor Integrity believes that allowing the claimant to dictate the investigative process irresponsibly precludes investigators from following ethical requirements to conduct investigations that are impartial, objective, and fair. A detailed critique of the Police Executive Research Forum report is available (2).
“Victim-centered” proponents advise investigators to assume that “all sexual assault cases are valid unless established otherwise” and to “start by believing” the complainants’ allegations. Such investigations are likely to be biased in favor of the complainant, resulting in wrongful convictions (3).
The New York Times recently highlighted the case of Wayne Martin who served almost nine years in prison for a double homicide. The District Attorney later learned that exculpatory evidence had been withheld from the defense — the key sentences in the case summaries that pointed to a different suspect had been intentionally deleted by a law enforcement officer. The Brooklyn DA moved to dismiss all charges against Martin early last month (4).
Wrongful Conviction Day is being observed in dozens of locations across the United States and internationally. The Center for Prosecutor Integrity is today hosting a national teleconference titled, “How ‘Victim-Centered’ Investigations Undermine the Presumption of Innocence and Victimize the Innocent.” The teleconference will be held 1:00 to 4:00pm, Eastern time. The teleconference is free of charge. Dial-in and other information is available (5).
The Center for Prosecutor Integrity works to strengthen prosecutorial ethics, restore the presumption of innocence, and bring an end to wrongful convictions.