Sunday, September 14, 2014

US Attorney in DC to create conviction integrity unit

It's always nice to see good ideas spreading. The US Attorney in Washington, D.C. is creating a conviction integrity unit modeled on Dallas DA Craig Watkins successes in Dallas and a similar unit in New York. Reported MyFoxDC (Sept. 11):
U.S. Attorney Ron Machen has decided to take a bold step in creating a unit that will investigate cases his prosecutors have already taken to court. Cases in which troubling questions may emerge post-conviction like the discovery of DNA, a bad witness or even a false confession.

Over the last four years, the U.S. Attorney's Office has investigated more than a hundred cases in which hair and fiber analysis played a role in convictions.

Five men had their cases thrown out when the evidence used against them turned out to be false. The latest being Kevin Martin, who served time for a murder he did not commit.

"Anytime that happens, it's a prosecutor's worst nightmare,” said Machen in an interview Thursday. “Our job, our mission is to punish the guilty, but protect the innocent, and if innocent individuals have been wrongly convicted, it's our job to do the right thing.”

So the District's top prosecutor has designed a unit that will be staffed with a veteran assistant U.S. attorney, who along with defense attorneys, will look at cases that have developed troubling questions after defendants have been found guilty.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

It is my hope this will include the lesser known cases and not just the high profile incidents. There are many in Texas who have little choice in the "plea process" because their attorneys ALWAYS tell them the jury trial only has a 50/50 chance of acquittal and its "best" to get this behind you. Only some convictions, even the pled ones have a way of biting you in the butt long after all the hoop-la-la back room dance at the court house...just sayin...