In the state of Michigan, it seems like you can’t go a single month without coming across some type of wrongful conviction story in the news. While this problem isn’t isolated in Michigan, it’s something that continues to have a negative impact on many people.
Fortunately, Wayne County recently took a big step forward in ending wrongful convictions once and for all.
Earlier this month, the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office announced the opening of its conviction integrity unit.
The unit, which is one of only a handful in the United States, will be headed up by a veteran criminal defense attorney with many years experience freeing the wrongly convicted. But that’s not all, as it will also comprise of: two full time attorneys, one full time and one part time investigator, a project consultant attorney and an administrative employee.
At this time, the cost of the unit will be covered by the Wayne County general fund and will focus most its resources on murder cases.
In the past, before the unit came into existence, these cases were typically handled by innocence clinics, social justice firms and local universities.
Even though Wayne County has noted that the creation of the unit has nothing to do with an increase in wrongful convictions, the county has received negative attention as of late thanks to a number of high profile cases.
The legal field has come a long way over the years, but that doesn’t mean that wrongful convictions are a thing of the past. This remains a problem in all parts of the country.
Source: Detroit Free Press, “Battler for the wrongly convicted will join Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office,” Tresa Baldas, accessed Dec. 15, 2017