This year, a new unit was started in the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office aimed at catching incorrect convictions.
This unit is the Wayne County Conviction Integrity Unit. It started up in January. The unit reviews convictions in which claims of innocence have been made. It reviews all aspects of a case to see if there is evidence indicating the conviction was incorrect.
The unit’s work has thus far contributed to four exonerations. The unit currently has over 600 cases on its review docket. One wonders how many exonerations will come out of the reviews of these cases and what overall impacts the unit’s work will have.
There are no other prosecutor’s office units like this in the state. One wonders if this will change in upcoming years.
While it is a good thing when bad convictions are caught and corrected, it is important to note that exoneration doesn’t suddenly make everything right for victims of such convictions. For one, a person can’t get back the time which he or she already spent in prison in connection to the conviction. Also, the experience of being imprisoned for something one didn’t do can have mental and emotional impacts that last with a person long after exoneration.
So, while catching bad convictions is important, so too is preventing them. What steps would you like to see taken in Michigan when it comes to preventing incorrect convictions?
When individuals are exonerated in connection to a bad conviction, they may have legal routes for pursuing monetary relief for the harm caused by the conviction. For one, civil claims of wrongful conviction can be a possibility. Wrongful conviction lawyers can help exonerated individuals understand their options for pursuing the justice they deserve.