George Brauchler, district attorney for the 18th Judicial District, has announced the creation of a Conviction Review Unit (CRU) to investigate legitimate claims that a convicted person is actually innocent.
“While we have no evidence that these cases exist in our jurisdiction, I know that the criminal justice system was created, and is run by, human beings. And like anything created and run by human beings, the criminal justice system is capable of making mistakes,” Brauchler said. “If there is actual, real evidence that a convicted defendant did not commit the crime for which he or she is incarcerated, there is now a vehicle to examine those claims of innocence.”
The Conviction Review Unit is that vehicle.
Volunteers retired from the criminal justice system will review claims of innocence submitted by defendants convicted at trial in the 18th Judicial District (Arapahoe, Douglas, Elbert and Lincoln counties) who are incarcerated or under community supervision. There must be credible evidence of innocence, not a claim based on a legal issue.
Once a case is accepted, the CRU will review trial and case materials and any new evidence. A re-investigation may be conducted. If the CRU finds a valid claim of actual innocence, the case will be presented to Brauchler.
If he agrees with the CRU recommendation, Brauchler will determine what further action can and should be taken.
“My goal as the elected district attorney and the mission of my office is to seek justice,” Brauchler said. “If there has been a miscarriage of justice in this district and someone’s liberty is at stake, I want to ensure there is path to have their liberty restored. The CRU is one more way I can serve the constituents who elected me to uphold and prosecute the law to the best of my abilities.”
More details about the CRU process can be found on the district attorney’s website, along with applications to serve as a volunteer and the application for a case review.
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