New York Gov. Kathy Hochul vetoed a bill just before Christmas that would have made it easier for people who have pleaded guilty to crimes to challenge their convictions, Maysoon Kahn reports for the Associated Press. The bill would have expanded the types of evidence that could be considered proof of innocence, including video footage or evidence of someone else confessing to a crime and would have allowed consideration for arguments that a person was coerced into a false guilty plea.
Under existing state law, criminal defendants who plead guilty are usually barred from trying to get their cases reopened based on a new claim of innocence, except in certain circumstances involving new DNA evidence. Prosecutors and advocates for crime victims warned the bill would have opened the floodgates to endless, frivolous legal appeals by the guilty. State Senator Zellnor Myrie, a New York City Democrat who sponsored the bill, said he is considering reintroducing the bill in the next legislative session to give innocent people a “fair chance to reverse a terrible wrong.”