A scholarly 95 page study of Conviction Review Units by John Hollway, University of Pennsylvania Law School. The conclusion:
The variety of philosophies, policies, and practices within the 19 CRUs that participated in this project is no surprise. In fact, it may be surprising how many areas the DAs and leaders of CRUs did agree on.
And a complete evaluation of the utility of the different approaches employed by the CRUs is clearly premature. Still, the promise of Convictions Review Units is clear.
CRUs have the potential to showcase the criminal justice system working at its best. Done well, a CRU can be a force of good in the criminal justice community, a model that operates with objectivity and a focus on real-world truth to integrate adversarial viewpoints and analyze conflicting and complex information and address claims for individuals who may be suffering from a State-imposed injustice.
Whether the model extends and realizes its potential as a force for education and improvement of techniques to investigate and adjudicate criminal charges or not, good faith CRUs that operate with independence, flexibility, and transparency can build bridges across what is too often a bitter ideological divide between prosecutors and defense counsel, and between law enforcement and the communities they serve, and restore the community’s faith that each part of the system is operating to ensure that perpetrators of crime – and only perpetrators of crime – are held accountable for their acts in ways that preserve the constitutional freedoms of all.
Institutions with such great potential should be observed carefully, as their impact can be enormously positive.
Full Article Here: Conviction Review Units: A National Perspective.