DA SINI ANNOUNCES LAUNCH OF ENHANCEMENTS TO CONVICTION INTEGRITY BUREAU, INCLUDING CREATION OF INDEPENDENT REVIEW PANEL
Office to Accept Applications from Defendants to Investigate Claims of Wrongful Conviction in Suffolk County
Leading Members of Legal Community to Conduct Independent Review of Office’s Investigations
(HAUPPAUGE, N.Y.) – Suffolk County District Attorney Timothy D. Sini today announced several enhancements to the Office’s newly-created Conviction Integrity Bureau (“CIB”), which aims to achieve and ensure justice by investigating claims of innocence, remedying identified wrongful convictions, and providing proactive support and recommendations to the Office to prevent wrongful convictions.
The enhancements include the appointment of an Independent Review Panel (“IRP”), composed of leading members of the legal community, to advise the CIB and review the Office’s investigations of wrongful conviction claims. District Attorney Sini also announced:
“These enhancements demonstrate our office’s commitment to pursuing justice and acting with integrity in all aspects of our work,” District Attorney Sini said. “We will prosecute the guilty and do everything in our power to protect the public, but we also will make sure that the innocent receive justice and are not wrongfully punished for crimes they did not commit. The outstanding lawyers whom I have asked to work on conviction integrity investigations and sit on our Independent Review Panel will help our office review claims and advise me on how to correct any errors we identify as a result of our review. Our new intake standards, phone line, email address and form will help the public understand which cases may be appropriate for CIB review and how to get those claims examined by our Office. Taken together, these innovations display to all involved in the criminal justice system – courts, counsel, victims, defendants, the law enforcement community, and the public – our dedication to doing the right thing in all cases.”
The newly-created IRP is composed of three members, each of whom has been asked to serve in this advisory role: Jennifer Rodgers, Justin Block, and Laura Solinger.
District Attorney Sini also announced that the Office is conducting an internal and external search for a Bureau Chief to lead the CIB and help supervise the investigation of wrongful conviction claims. Applicants should have experience in the prosecution and/or defense of complex criminal cases, demonstrated success in investigations, and a commitment to integrity, ethics and excellence. Additional information on the position is available at http://www.suffolkcountyny.gov/da/Careers/Careers.aspx. Applicants should submit materials to ApplySCDA@suffolkcountyny.gov.
District Attorney Sini also announced the establishment of a dedicated intake line and email address, intake standards, and an application form for the Conviction Integrity Bureau:
The Bureau will accept applications from defendants who were convicted in cases prosecuted by the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office but who claim they are actually innocent of those crimes. Applications must be submitted by the defendant who claims he or she was wrongfully convicted, or his or her counsel. Further details on how to apply for CIB review are available on the Bureau’s web page and Application and Certification Form.
In addition to reviewing cases, the CIB makes recommendations and provides training on ways to prevent wrongful convictions in the future. The CIB is in the Office’s Special Investigations Division under the leadership of Special Counsel and Division Chief Howard S. Master.