New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman is setting up a bureau to investigate criminal cases across the state in which convictions have been called into question, the New York Times reports. It is the first statewide initiative by a law enforcement agency to address potential wrongful convictions. Many in the criminal justice system have been seeking changes like the videotaping of police interrogations and new practices for eyewitness identifications.
“There is only one person who wins when the wrong person is convicted of a crime: the real perpetrator, who remains free to commit more crimes,” Schneiderman said. “For victims, their families and any of us who could suffer the nightmare of being wrongly accused, it is imperative that we do everything possible to maximize accuracy, justice and reliability in our justice system.” The bureau will consist of one assistant attorney general, who will be able to call on investigators and assistant attorneys general as needed. The office will work with district attorneys across the state to identify cases in which there might be significant doubts surrounding a conviction.