Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office Announces “Conviction Review Unit”
In April, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced its offices implementation of a “Conviction Review Unit.” A unit specifically geared towards review of claims of innocence to those who were convicted. Los Angeles will be joining in the group of 15 other counties which have created such units. Supporters of this division claim this unit will help reduce later claims of wrongly convicted persons seeking award(s) for spending time in prison, as well as aiming to exonerate those who are actually innocent. In response to this announcement, Justin Brooks, director of the California Innocence Project said “This is exactly what should happen in every district attorney’s office in America.” Brooks further stated “We all have the same goal: to make sure the right people are in prison.”
Skeptics of the unit, such as nationally recognized criminal defense attorney and co-founder of the New York Innocence Project Barry Scheck, offer that the unit will likely be meaningless and its enactment is merely a guise to fashionably conform to other prosecuting agencies across the nation. Scheck provided, “There are lots of people who can say, ‘Oh gee, I have a conviction integrity unit,’ because that’s now the necessary fashion accessory.” In an interesting and true perspective, Scheck stated, “To be successful, Los Angeles County should search for someone with ‘a different way of looking at the cases.’ – like a former defense attorney – to lead the unit.’ The other key is fostering robust relationships between prosecutors and defense lawyers in which neither side expects to be ‘sandbagged.’”
For more information, click here to read the article written by the LA Times. If you have been arrested or charged with a crime, contact Los Angeles Criminal Defense Attorney John Rogers at the Law Offices of John D. Rogers. Call (949) 625-4487 for a free confidential consultation concerning your rights and defenses.