Conviction Review Symposium
We know the criminal justice system makes mistakes. In recent years as part of growing recognition of that fallibility, interest in innocence cases and post-conviction review has increased.
In response, more than 25 district attorney’s offices — nationwide and in California — have established or plan to establish conviction review units (CRUs) with designated staff who investigate possible wrongful convictions and either recommend confirmation of the conviction or precede with an exoneration. CRUs, if implemented well, can increase the number of exonerations, identify and remedy criminal justice system mistakes, and expand opportunities to prevent future mistakes.
Locating CRUs within district attorneys’ offices raises concerns about the ability of prosecutors to look with fresh eyes at convictions secured by their colleagues. Certain practices can help ensure that CRUs truly offer a fair and impartial review of possible wrongful convictions.
On September 25, 2015, NCIP held the In the Interest of Justice: Conviction Review Programs Symposium, sharing vital information about best practices in post-conviction review with 300+ participants. The symposium featured presentations by prosecutors, exonerees, judges, innocence project attorneys, researchers, academics, and others; those presentations are available for viewing below.
Carter, Lucy Salcido and Kirvin, Bryn. (Summer 2016) Conviction review units: a
modern model for seeking justice after trial. Prosecutor’s Brief. 38(4).
Center on the Administration of Criminal Law’s Conviction Integrity Project. (2012)
Establishing Conviction Integrity Programs in Prosecutors’ Offices. New York, NY.
Hollway, John. (2016) Conviction review units: a national perspective. Faculty
Scholarship. Paper 1614. Philadelphia, PA: University of Pennsylvania Law School.