California Attorney General Rob Bonta announced in February the formation of a new statewide Post-Conviction Justice Unit that will investigate potential wrongful convictions and identify incarcerated people who may qualify for resentencing.
The post-conviction unit, staffed by two deputy district attorneys, will work with local district attorneys to review and investigate cases handled by the Department of Justice where there is evidence of integrity issues, wrongful convictions and where convicted people claim innocence.
“We know our criminal legal system is not infallible,” Bonta wrote in the press release. “Whether it’s as a result of bias, changes in forensics or any other issue, our system is not foolproof.”
The unit will also consult with counties that do not operate conviction integrity units in order to review convictions in those counties for integrity issues.
In reviewing new credible information, these integrity units could exonerate people convicted of a crime. By investigating and resolving claims of injustice, the unit will reduce harm while increasing trust in the justice system, Bonta’s press release said.
“While this is only a beginning, it represents a critical step forward for further fostering a culture of integrity and transparency that supports trust in the law,” Bonta said.