District Attorney Larry D. Morse II announced today that he has designated a Conviction Review Unit to review post-conviction claims of actual innocence and has formalized a process to review such claims.
The Unit will review primarily convictions involving violent felonies where new evidence of innocence has been discovered. The Unit will be comprised of one local defense attorney and two experienced trial prosecutors. The final decision on whether to exonerate a conviction will be made by the District Attorney.
“We are ever mindful of our duty as prosecutors to seek a true and just result in every case. This means ensuring that justice is done before, during and even after a criminal case is finished,” said Morse. “While we are confident in the convictions we attain, we are aware that advances in technology, such as DNA, have shown that innocent people can be convicted of crimes they did not commit. The Conviction Review Unit will be responsible for reviewing such claims of innocence.”
A conviction will be exonerated only if the District Attorney no longer remains confident in the integrity of the conviction, Morse noted.
A request to review a conviction may be submitted in writing to the District Attorney’s office. A form has been created and is available on the District Attorney’s website. The form may be submitted online or mailed to the District Attorney’s office.
Similar programs have been created in other prosecutors’ offices throughout the country, Morse noted. “This program will help further the goal of our office that justice be done in every case,” Morse said.