Marsy’s Law Will Ensure Your Rights As New Conviction Review Unit Gets Underway

Jackie Lacey, DA of Los Angeles, is ushering in a Conviction review unit to investigate new evidence in the areas of potential wrongful conviction. This unit will review trial transcripts and the evidence and interview witnesses. At that time, the victim’s family will be informed of the review at certain stages of a case, including post-conviction release decision in accordance with Marsy’s Law. DA Lacey noted that her office will be diligent in assuring victims’ rights are upheld and victims’ families are properly notified.

Why A Conviction Review Unit Is Needed: Jackie Lacey

– Los Angeles Daily News, By Jackie Lacey

In the 165-year history of the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office, the thousands of prosecutors who have stood before judges and juries on behalf of the people have done so with a common purpose — to seek justice and pursue the truth.

The integrity of the courts and our judicial system is not just a lofty ideal. It is a living, working reality.

As the leader of the largest local prosecutorial agency in the nation, my duty is to ensure our nearly 1,000 deputy district attorneys adhere to a strict code of conduct in the fair and ethical pursuit of justice.

I am proud of the work our prosecutors do on a daily basis and the record we have established through the years to protect our community. Last year, my office prosecuted more than 71,000 felony defendants and 112,000 misdemeanor defendants.

Despite our best efforts, the prosecution of cases is not perfect. In a few instances, new evidence is discovered after the fact and, on rare occasions, mistakes are found.

Therefore, whenever we receive new credible information that may exonerate a person, the responsibility is on us, as prosecutors, to re-examine the facts and, if appropriate, to vacate a wrongful conviction.

This week, the Board of Supervisors approved funding for a Conviction Review Unit comprised of three experienced deputy district attorneys, one senior investigator and one paralegal. I am grateful that they share my vision for justice.

This new unit will expand my office’s ability to address credible claims of innocence made by convicted felons in a more timely, efficient and consistent manner.

Just as we are expected to keep pace with advances in forensic science, technology and investigative methods, prosecutorial agencies also must update and formalize the way in which post-conviction claims of innocence are handled.

We must respond whenever we receive new substantial and credible information that the evidence used to imprison someone for a serious or violent felony is not trustworthy.

We must review that information and determine if we remain confident in the conviction.

As prosecutors, we have a legal obligation and an ethical mandate to ensure that the right person is convicted for the crime charged.

Prosecutors assigned to the new unit will be selected by the management team to handle this important responsibility. We will choose experienced trial lawyers who are well-respected by their supervisors, peers and law enforcement.

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