A Wayne County prosecutor announced on Friday, July 14, 2017 that she will be creating a special task force to give cases involving alleged wrongful convictions another look. While she notes that the specially appointed unit will dedicate the bulk of their time re-looking at murder cases, she notes that all suspected instances of wrongful convictions will be subjected to additional prosecutor scrutiny.
As for why she’s creating this special unit to review convictions, she makes it clear that she’s not doing it in response to the recent uptick in ‘bad cases’ that have been prosecuted in Detroit. Instead, she wants to send a message to both defendants and area residents alike that the county’s prosecutors don’t intentionally convict those whose guilt cannot be proven.
She notes that any prosecutor’s office in America shouldn’t fear such a unit’s existence, but instead welcome it. The prosecutor suspects that, in the grand scheme of things, the majority of convictions that have been entered into the public record will remain unchanged.
As for a checks-and-balances type of prosecutor oversight unit like this one, this is not the first time one has existed in Wayne county. Up until 2013, a “conviction integrity unit” existed in the county whereby defendants could argue their innocence to staff members. It was only disbanded by the county because they could no longer afford to staff it.
In terms of this newly formed unit, it will be comprised of four attorneys and two investigators. Another more senior attorney will supervise the six employees that make up the unit. They will be hearing both cases where prisoners represent themselves and those brought by attorneys who bring new evidence to light.
If you have been convicted of a crime you did not commit and you’re looking to have your case re-examined by this newly formed panel, then you should contact a Detroit wrongful conviction attorney. He or she can guide you as to how to position your case in hopes of achieving the best outcome.
Source: CBS Detroit, “Prosecutor Kym Worthy adding staff to review wrongful convictions,” July 14, 2017