After Scott Fappiano was freed last week, after being in falsely imprisoned for 21 years (he was mistakenly convicted of raping a police officer's wife in their Brooklyn home), more questions are being raised about the way police evidence is stored/a>. Thought Fappiano had requested a pair of sweatpants be tested for DNA evidence in 1989, the technology back then wasn't able to read the small sample - and then the pants and sample were basically lost until this year (they had been in the DNA testing company's storage all along). The Innocence Project, which took on Fappiano's case, said that the NYPD evidence collection and tracking systems need to be reformed; IP's Peter Neufeld told WABC 7, "Unfortunately it's a black hole. We've had less good fortune locating evidence in New York City than in the rural quarters of Mississippi and Alabama."
And this past summer, Alan Netwon was freed after 22 years of false imprisonment:
Newton first requested postconviction DNA testing on August 16, 1994. The Court denied his request on November 3, 1994, because the kit could not be located. In 2005, at the request of the Innocence Project, the Bronx County District Attorney’s Office asked the Property Clerk Division to conduct a search for the victim’s rape kit, despite claims made by officials at the Property Clerk’s Office over the course of eleven years that the kit could not be located and was presumed destroyed. In November 2005, the kit was found after a physical search of the evidence barrels at the Pearson Place, Queens warehouse. The rape kit was found in the same barrel that was indicated on the evidence voucher.
The State Assembly is meeting about police evidence management reform. And we can't get this Fappiano quote from the NY Times out of our head:
“Going to jail for rape is hard,” Mr. Fappiano said yesterday, recalling a prison pecking order in which only pedophiles rated less respect than rapists. “Going to jail for rape when a police officer’s wife is involved is really hard.”
Read the Innocence Project's information about Fappiano's release.