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Preventing Wrongful Convictions

The Manhattan District Attorney’s Office spares no effort in seeking justice in every case that comes before it.  Through the years and around the country, innocent men and women have been convicted of crimes they did not commit.  This not only robs an innocent person of his or her freedom, it leaves a criminal on the street, free to commit more crimes.

To protect New Yorkers and ensure justice, District Attorney Vance created the Conviction Integrity Program in March 2010.  The Program is comprehensive in scope, and is unique in purpose: not only does it address claims of actual innocence, it also seeks to prevent wrongful convictions from occurring.  The Program has three components: a Conviction Integrity Committee, a Conviction Integrity Chief, and an outside Conviction Integrity Policy Advisory Panel.

The Conviction Integrity Committee is comprised of ten senior members of the District Attorney’s staff, who review practices and policies related to training, case assessment, investigation, and disclosure obligations, with a focus on potential errors such as eyewitness misidentifications and false confessions.  The training is available to all levels of lawyers in the Office, from rookies to veterans, as prosecutors learn the best practices from around the country in preventing wrongful convictions.

The Conviction Integrity Chief coordinates the activities of the Committee and leads all re-investigation of any cases that present a meaningful claim of actual innocence.

The Conviction Integrity Policy Advisory Panel is comprised of leading criminal justice experts, including legal scholars and former prosecutors, who advise the Office on national best practices and evolving issues in the area of wrongful convictions.

The work of the Conviction Integrity Program, combined with the Office’s commitment to using the most advanced scientific and investigative tools available, has made the cases brought by the Office stronger for victims and more fair for defendants.

For more information on the DA's Conviction Integrity Program, please click here.