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The Latest: Edwards signs eyewitness expert bill

June 5, 2019

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — The Latest on legislation allowing experts on eyewitness identification to testify in some Louisiana criminal cases (all times local):

5:30 p.m.

Gov. John Bel Edwards has signed legislation allowing experts on eyewitness identification to testify in some Louisiana criminal cases.

The bill’s supporters include the Innocence Project New Orleans. That organization said the legislation was needed because eyewitness mistakes are a leading cause of wrongful convictions. Proponents said testimony from experts on memory and eyewitness reliability could prevent such convictions.

Edwards’ office said he signed the bill Wednesday. It won final passage in the House with a 103-0 vote Monday. Earlier, the Senate had approved it 37-0.

Among those praising the legislation was Wilbert Jones. Jones was exonerated last year after 46 years of imprisonment for a rape conviction based on identification from a single, uncertain eyewitness.

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1 p.m.

Criminal justice advocates are applauding passage of legislation allowing experts on eyewitness identification to testify in some Louisiana criminal cases.

The bill’s supporters include the Innocence Project New Orleans. That organization said in a news release Wednesday that the legislation was needed because eyewitness mistakes are a leading cause of wrongful convictions. Proponents said testimony from experts on memory and eyewitness reliability could prevent such convictions.

The measure was awaiting action in Baton Rouge Wednesday by Gov. John Bel Edwards. It won final passage in the House with a 103-0 vote Monday. Earlier, the Senate had approved it 37-0.

Among those praising the legislation was Wilbert Jones. Jones was exonerated last year after 46 years of imprisonment for a rape conviction based on identification from a single, uncertain eyewitness.

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