New twists on past stories.
By Francie Diep
Bruce Lisker listens in Superior Court on August 21, 2009, in Los Angeles, California. (Photo: Luis Sinco-Pool/Getty Images)
Editor’s Note: A version of this story first appeared on PSmag.com on January 22, 2016, with the headline “Two of Los Angeles’ Biggest Wrongful Conviction Cases Exemplify the Justice System’s Biggest Errors.” This edited version was published in our May/June 2016 print issue.
In January, the City of Los Angeles agreed to pay $24 million to two men who spent decades in prison after wrongful murder convictions, the Los Angeles Times reported. The two cases were unrelated, but both Kash Register and Bruce Lisker accused the LAPD in court of similar, surprisingly common investigative missteps, which the journalist Sue Russell wrote about for Pacific Standard in 2012. Register’s conviction hinged on two eyewitnesses who identified him in line-ups, despite the fact that misidentification is “the single biggest common denominator in wrongful convictions, and a factor in 72 percent of cases overturned by DNA nationwide,” as Russell reported in 2012.