Attorney General Dana Nessel on Wednesday launched a unit to investigate what she calls “credible” claims of innocence by convicted persons.
Officials with the Office of the Attorney General say the Conviction Integrity Unit will ensure no one is convicted of a crime they didn’t commit.
Kelly Rossman-McKinney is a spokesperson for the Attorney General. She said the unit will investigate what she calls “credible” claims of innocence from prisoners who have exhausted regular appeals.
“Those convicted of state crimes either at the county prosecutor level or by our office, to ensure that folks are truly guilty of those crimes.”
Rossman-McKinney said the department is working to develop an intake process and to define what constitutes a credible claim of innocence.
“If a prisoner has credible information, additional information, new evidence, etc. that may well be worth looking at.”
The unit is being modeled after a Conviction Integrity Unit in Wayne County.
David Moran is the Director of the Michigan Innocence Project, which currently represents 22 state inmates. He said it appears that the Attorney General is taking the issue seriously.
“So it’s a really positive development. The criminal justice system is really starting to recognize that mistakes are made and the system has an obligation to do something about them.”
According to the National Registry of Exonerations Michigan has had 97 exonerations since 1989. Moran said there may be hundreds or even thousands of people in Michigan that have been convicted but are innocent.