State Bar President Seymour James said the governor's support for videotaped interrogations and reform of photo identification procedures significantly advances those issues.
"We are quite pleased that he included proposals to address some of the problems that have resulted in wrongful convictions," James said in an interview. "We have long supported recording of custodial interrogations and double blind identification procedures, so we look forward to the opportunity to work with the governor's office to achieve what I think are our shared priorities."
City Bar President Carey Dunne said his group has also long advocated for moves that would reduce wrongful convictions, including the videotaping of interrogations and a double-blind identification process.
State Senator John Bonacic, a Mount Hope Republican who chairs the Senate's Judiciary Committee, said he supports the videotaping proposal because it would better preserve the rights of criminal defendants and provide verification for police agencies about properly gleaning information from suspects.
Proposal on Drugs
The governor said his marijuana possession proposal was a matter of fairness.
While possession of 25 grams or less of marijuana is a misdemeanor when it is "open view," possession of the same amount of marijuana is a violation when found in a person's home.
Cuomo said the "open view" arrests for marijuana accounts for 15 percent of all arrests in New York City, the largest category of arrests in any one area. He said 82 percent of those arrested for the misdemeanor are black or Hispanic and that 69 percent of them are under age 30.
According to the governor, the arrests often make it harder for offenders to get into school, find jobs or "turn their lives around" because the misdemeanors stay on their records for a lifetime.
"Stop stigmatizing these young people," Cuomo urged yesterday.
Vance said he supported that initiative because as a district attorney he wants to use as many resources as possible to pursue violent criminals, not low-level drug offenders.
Cuomo said he was continuing to negotiate a package of gun-control measures with the Legislature but that it is time to "stop the madness" of rapid-fire, assault-style weapons being turned on civilians by disturbed individuals.