October 8, 2014

New unit formed to overturn wrongful convictions

10-8-2014 Arizona:

TUCSON - Just over 42,000 inmates fill Arizona prisons. Some of them have been wrongfully convicted. For the ones convicted in Pima County, the County Attorney's office has formed a new unit.

The Conviction Integrity Unit will be headed by Rick Unklesbay.

Jason Kreag, a visiting assistant professor at the University of Arizona James E. Rogers College of Law has worked with similar units across the country. He worked on the Innocence Project in New York for five years.

"They are now going to institute what I hope will be a really robust program to identify and rectify injustices," said Kreag.

Such as in Larry Youngblood's case. In 2000 after spending nearly a decade behind bars, Youngblood's conviction was overturned. DNA set him free.

Two years later, after spending 10 years on Death Row DNA also helped set Ray Krone free.

In a 2003 interview he told News 4 Tucson, "The best part was knowing that my family's faith in me was finally justified."

"This isn't just an issue about correcting an injustice for the persons who were wrongly convicted it's an issue about identifying the actual perpetrator," said Kreage. "It's happened in about 40% of the cases where the actual perpetrator is identified when we prove someone's innocence."

Many states provide compensation for those who have been wrongfully convicted. Arizona does not.

The County Attorney's office says inmates must send an application letter to Deputy County Attorney Rick Unklesbay at the Pima County Attorney's Office, located at 32 N. Stone Ave.

The letter must include the defendant's name and CR case number, evidence of innocence and how the unit will be able to look further into the evidence given.

E-mails can also be sent to Rick.Unklesbay@pcao.pima.gov with Conviction Integrity Application in the subject line.

For more information contact 740-5704. ..Source.. by KVOA.com

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