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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.
To Have Your Case Reviewed By The CIU:
- You must have been convicted and sentenced for a felony in the State of Michigan, and the direct appeal process must be complete
- You must present a claim of factual innocence which means that you played no role in the criminal act.
- The claim must be supported by new, credible, material evidence that has not been addressed on its merits by any court.
- The new evidence or information must not have been raised during post-conviction appeals (direct appeal, federal habeas, MCR 6.500, etc.).
- The claim must be capable of being investigated and resolved, and if substantiated, would bear directly on the issue of factual innocence.
The CIU will not review claims solely alleging judicial errors, such as unfavorable court rulings or procedural errors, those alleging lawful sentences are excessive/harsh, or those seeking to re-litigate affirmative defenses, evidence, or information previously considered by a prior finder of fact such as a jury or judge.
Please note that a submission of your application does not guarantee investigation of your claim. It also does not toll the time to file an appeal or any post-conviction motions that may be appropriate.
To File A Claim With The CIU:
The CIU has prepared an application that can be found on the Michigan Attorney General’s website. Claimants are encouraged to use the CIU application, although the CIU will accept any writing that provides the necessary information. Claims must be brought to the CIU’s attention in a written document, sent to the CIU through the U.S. Mail or an email. The CIU will not consider claims presented through telephone calls.
Claims can be submitted to:Office of the Michigan Attorney General
Conviction Integrity Unit
3030 W. Grand Blvd. Ste. 10-200
Detroit, MI 48202
Please do not send supporting documentation. If we accept your case, we will reach out with any requests for documentation.