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Conviction Integrity Unit (CIU)

The Conviction Integrity Unit (the “CIU”) investigates claims of innocence to determine whether there is clear and convincing new evidence that the convicted defendant was not the person who committed the offense.

The Michigan Rules of Professional Conduct 3.8 provides in part:

(f) When a prosecutor knows of new, credible, and material evidence creating a reasonable likelihood that a convicted defendant is innocent of the crime for which the defendant was convicted, the prosecutor shall:

1. promptly disclose that evidence to an appropriate court or authority, and;

2. if the conviction was obtained in the prosecutor’s jurisdiction,

i. promptly disclose that evidence to the defendant unless a court authorizes delay, and;

ii. undertake further investigation, or make reasonable efforts to cause an investigation, to determine whether the defendant is innocent of the crime.

(g) When a prosecutor knows of clear and convincing evidence establishing that a defendant in the prosecutor’s jurisdiction is innocent of the crime for which defendant was prosecuted, the prosecutor shall seek to remedy the conviction.

(h) A prosecutor’s independent judgment, made in good faith, that the new evidence is not of such nature as to trigger the obligations of section (f) and (g), though subsequently determined to have been erroneous, does not constitute a violation of this Rule.

The CIU makes recommendations to the Attorney General about the appropriate remedy (if any) that should result from its findings. The Attorney General makes all final decisions about whether a remedy should be provided to a person seeking review by the CIU.

The CIU is not a court and its work is not governed by any court rules of procedure. The CIU investigates claims of factual innocence based on new evidence; it does not function as a “13th juror” to review factual questions that already have been decided by a jury. Its mission is to determine whether new evidence shows that an innocent person has been wrongfully convicted of a crime, and to recommend steps to rectify such situations. Only a court can actually set aside a conviction.