Correcting and Preventing Wrongful Convictions in D.C., Maryland and Virginia.

Policy

Every wrongful conviction is evidence that the criminal justice system has failed in its most critical role: the proper conviction of the guilty and acquittal of the innocent.  It therefore is critically important to learn from those systemic failures whenever they occur.  We are committed to doing so by studying the causes of those failures; working to educate the public, law enforcement, prosecutors and judges about those problems; and working to advocate on behalf of policies that would help prevent wrongful convictions from occurring in the future.

Some examples of our work in these areas include speaking to sheriffs throughout Virginia about wrongful conviction reform, participating in the mandatory training of new prosecutors, successfully working with a coalition to secure eyewitness identification reform in Maryland, and successfully working with a coalition to improve access to post-conviction DNA testing in the District of Columbia.  Over the next year, we will be working to improve eyewitness error in Virginia and – we hope – continuing to engage with prosecutors and law enforcement on how all of us can work together to make the system as accurate as possible so that the guilty are convicted and the innocent remain free.