Posted Apr 13, 2012 06:28 pm CDT
New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman has created a new bureau to investigate possible cases of wrongful convictions.
The new Conviction Review Bureau will also handle claims for compensation against the state by those who have been wrongfully convicted, Reuters reports.
In a statement announcing the creation of the new bureau, Schneiderman said the state’s district attorneys have successfully uncovered a number of unjust convictions on their own, including those of the five men wrongfully convicted in the 1989 near-fatal rape and beating of a Central Park jogger.
But he said there may be instances in which it would be “helpful” for an independent and specialized agency to get involved in the process.
Schneiderman also said some of the state’s 62 district attorneys may not have the staff to conduct their own reviews. And there may be times when there are conflicts of interest.
Barry Scheck, co-director of the Innocence Project, which uses DNA to exonerate the wrongfully convicted, said he hopes that prosecutors will take advantage of the new bureau because “all New Yorkers are hurt when the wrong person is convicted of a crime and the real perpetrator is free to commit more crimes.”