Wrongful Conviction In CIU

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The chapter focuses on the importance of conviction integrity units (CIU), which were designed and produced by attorneys who started taking up the issue of wrongful convictions. The formation is relevant because CIUs seem to result from the innocence movement, which helps to bring the issue of wrongful convictions to the public’s attention (as cited in Zalman & Carranno, 2013). The chapter states two arguments: on the one hand, CIUs should be celebrated, and on the other hand, and the rise in CIU might also be a political reaction from wrongful convictions. CIUs might seem appealing enough because prosecutors appear to have control over the constant pressure to convict that each attorney faces. There are reasons to be skeptical because wrongful …show more content…
By exploring three case studies of CIU counties—Dallas County, New York County, and Santa Clare County—one can base the assessment on the history and structure to better understand strengths and weakness (Zalman & Carranno, 2013).
Dallas County Conviction Integrity Unit began in November 2007. District Attorney Craig Watkins was elected that prior year. He was the first African-American district attorney in the state of Texas (as cited in Zalman & Carranno, 2013). Dallas history was viewed as a place where the abuse of power happened on a regular basis in the criminal justice system. The Dallas District Attorney’s Office is conservative and known for being “tough on crime” (as cited in Zalman & Carranno, 2013). Terri Moore and Craig Watkins asked for additional funding from the Dallas County Commissioners’ Court, and the unit was created. This group partnered with innocence projects, volunteer law students and the Dallas County Public Defenders office (as cited in Zalman & Carranno, 2013). It did this to review hundreds of post-conviction claims that have been rejected by a prior administration. However, some of the claims had been filed under the DNA
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District Attorney Jeffery F. Rosen launched the Santa Clara County Conviction Integrity Unit in 2011 and had David Angel head the unit. This county CIU shares the same structure as Manhattan, by having both a front-end and a back-end approach, that way to prevent future wrongful convictions by reviewing cases and limiting errors. The District of Attorney Office structure is to maintain accountability and commitment to integrity; because Rosen supervises both the CIU and the team that handles allegations of misconduct (as cited in Zalman & Carranno, 2013). The difference between Santa Clara is that Rosen holds direct power over laboratory DNA tests, unlike Dallas and Manhattan. The structure ensures oversight and accountability in DNA testing.
Conviction integrity units have potential because their strength is in accessing information and political power. CIU can potentially play a role in bringing about partnerships that are necessary for fundamental policy changes. Wrongful convictions are difficult to define, and CIUs can face many challenges while trying to be objective and independent. One should still be skeptical of CIUs, and if a prosecutor can acknowledge the problems and create a partnership with the defense bar to ensure that efforts are being transparent, then there is a possibility

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