In my life as a lawyer, I've been privileged to play a role in exonerating a number of innocent men and women. But last week, as I sat in a Brooklyn courtroom, waiting for State Supreme Court Judge Matthew J. D'Emic to vacate the convictions of David McCallum and Willie Stuckey, I knew I was witnessing something special.
The New York Court of Appeals is a bellwether court, meaning that High Court's decisions in Aveni and Thomas are bound to have influence well beyond New York's borders. I'm hoping that the Court not only provides justice for Messrs. Aveni and Thomas, but crafts its decision in a way that helps to prevent future coerced and false confessions.
Today, the FBI and most other federal investigatory agencies are out of tune with the current best practice for interrogating suspects who are under arrest and in custody: recording interrogations electronically, preferably on video, to capture exactly what was said and done during closed-door interviews.
Eric Caine had millions of reasons to smile, so why the glum expression when we met at our favorite eatery on July 25? The previous day, the Chicago City Council had approved a $10 million settlement of his lawsuit against Comdr. Jon Burge and the cops who tortured him into falsely confessing to a double murder in 1986.