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Open letter to readers: Today and tomorrow

By Lynda Waddington | 11.17.11

Wednesday was a difficult day for The American Independent News Network, which is the larger entity that operates The Iowa Independent. Our chief executive and founder announced two of our sister sites would close and their content would be moved to The American Independent.

ACS lockout continues; plan emerges to repeal sugar protections

By Virginia Chamlee | 11.15.11

A recently introduced bill could have far-reaching impact on the U.S. sugar industry, including American Crystal Sugar, a farmer-owned cooperative that locked out 1,300 Midwest workers on Aug. 1.

Cain campaign: Farmers know more about regulations than EPA

By Andrew Duffelmeyer | 11.15.11

The chairman for Herman Cain’s Iowa effort says the campaign “relied more on the word of farmers than Washington regulators” in deciding to run an ad containing claims the Environmental Protection Agency says are false.

Mathis wins, Democrats maintain Senate control

Liz Mathis
By Lynda Waddington | 11.08.11

The Iowa Senate will remain under the control of a slim 26-25 Democratic majority when it reconvenes in January 2012.

Press Release

PR: Nation should work to address veterans’ challenges

By Press Release Reprints | 11.11.11

BRUCE BRALEY RELEASE — As US involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan ends, it’s more important than ever that our nation works to address the challenges faced by the men and women who fought there.

PR: Honoring veterans, help in hiring

By Press Release Reprints | 11.11.11

CHUCK GRASSLEY RELEASE — A difficult job market is challenging the soldiers, sailors and airmen who have protected America’s interests by serving in the Armed Forces.

PR: In honor of America’s veterans

By Press Release Reprints | 11.11.11

TOM LATHAM RELEASE — No one has done more to secure the freedom enjoyed by every single American than our veterans and those currently serving in the armed services.

PR: Honoring and supporting our nation’s veterans

By Press Release Reprints | 11.11.11

DAVE LOEBSACK RELEASE — Veterans Day is an opportunity to reflect on the service of generations of veterans and to honor the sacrifices they and their families have made so that we may live in peace and freedom here at home.

ISU prof’s findings throw eyewitness testimony into doubt

By Lynda Waddington | 03.09.09 | 1:54 pm

Research conducted by an Iowa State University professor challenges a long-established Supreme Court ruling that permits eyewitness identifications that are obtained through “suggestive” law enforcement procedures.

“Of the 224 people in the United States who have been wrongfully convicted by juries of committing a crime, about 77 percent — or 172 of them — were cases of mistaken eyewitness identification,” said Gary Wells, an ISU psychology professor who was featured on CBS News this weekend.

Wells and graduate student Deah Quinlivan published a paper in a journal of the American Psychology-Law Society last month, documenting their findings that eyewitness testimony obtained by suggestive means is not reliable. The two take direct aim at the 1977 U.S. Supreme Court decision Manson v. Brathwaite, which permits such identifications as evidence.

“[I]t turns out that mistaken eyewitness identification accounts now for more convictions of innocent people that all other causes combined,” Wells said. “Now that’s been a surprise, I think, to the legal system. It has not been a surprise for psychologists because we’ve been doing work well before forensic DNA testing came along to prove these cases on eyewitness identification.”

The published report documents how both biological science (via DNA) and social science (via eyewitness identification experiments) have shed new light on eyewitness identification errors, which are much more prevalent than that Supreme Court could have surmised in 1977. The authors conclude that it is now time to change current eyewitness identification procedures.

“Today, police carry out very complex evidence collection procedures with physical evidence such as blood, hair and fiber that have to conform to precise protocols and careful documentation,” they wrote. “Clearly, police would be capable of carrying out careful non-suggestive protocols with eyewitness identification evidence as well, if courts were more assertive in demanding it.”

Wells, who helped develop the first set of national guidelines for police on eyewitness evidence, was featured on the CBS News show “60 Minutes” on Sunday. The camera crew for the show spent a day with him at Iowa State University.

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