- Associated Press - Sunday, October 12, 2014

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) - Louisville’s police department has adopted policies to prevent false confessions and eyewitness misidentification in a move that comes two years after the city paid $8.5 million to a man wrongly convicted of homicide.

Metro Police Col. Ozzy Gibson, who led a review of the policies, told The Courier-Journal (https://cjky.it/1uFOl9x ) that the new policies are designed to give officers some flexibility and may be subject to additional review.

“We want to make sure we are doing everything in the best possible way and that no one is harmed by what we do,” he said.

The department has trained detectives on the new policies, Gibson said.

The New York-based Innocence Project said the changes are positive, but its state policy advocate said they fall short because they “merely suggest, instead of require,” the use of best practices to reduce the likelihood of wrongful convictions.

“They do not go far enough to protect the rights of Louisvillians,” said Amshula Jayaram, the advocate.

The policies also omit a key recommendation in a National Academy of Sciences report issued recently - that witnesses be required to state in their own words how confident they are in identifying a suspect, so they don’t exaggerate their certainty when they testify months or years later at trial.

Meanwhile, still unfinished is an investigation ordered by Louisville Police Chief Steve Conrad in October 2012 of what caused Edwin Chandler’s wrongful conviction in 1995 and whether the detective in the case should be charged with perjury and other crimes for allegedly coercing Chandler’s confession and lying about it.

Conrad said the investigation has been delayed because his department had to await completion of a federal investigation, which didn’t produce an indictment. Stephanie Collins, a spokeswoman for the U.S. attorney’s office, said the results of that review have been turned over to Louisville police.

Metro government has paid more than $12 million to settle lawsuits brought by Chandler - who was imprisoned for nine years - and another man, William Gregory - who was imprisoned for seven years after being wrongfully accused of two rapes. He was eventually exonerated by DNA evidence.

The city faces other potentially costly cases as well.

Those include a pending federal lawsuit filed by Kerry Porter, who was exonerated in 2011 after spending 14 years in prison for a murder he didn’t commit. His suit alleges police improperly used suggestive identification procedures to win his conviction.

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Information from: The Courier-Journal, https://www.courier-journal.com

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