Conviction Integrity Section

 

The Conviction Integrity Section (CIS) reviews credible claims of innocence in coordination with district attorneys to correct any miscarriage of justice and seek the truth.

The Attorney General established the Conviction Integrity Section to reinforce Pennsylvania’s commitment to the highest standards of fairness in our criminal justice system.  The CIS will review claims of innocence statewide and provide substantial resources to review past convictions in collaboration with district attorneys, police agencies and victims to ensure justice.

A request to review a conviction may come from a district attorney having original jurisdiction of the conviction or a direct application to the CIS.  After application, the CIS and the district attorney will conduct a joint review to determine if a claim meets the following criteria:

  1. The applicant is incarcerated on the conviction in question.
  2. The conviction is in a county within the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. All Philadelphia County cases will be sent to the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Conviction Integrity Unit.
  3. The conviction is for a felony offense.
  4. The applicant is claiming actual innocence –
    1.  No crime was committed or that the crime was committed by someone else;
    2. Facts, evidence or information supporting the claim must meet the definition of “new evidence” per 42 Pa.C.S. 9545.
    3. The new evidence must be material and credible; and
    4. The new evidence viewed based on the totality of circumstances now known must be of a “clear and convincing” nature creating a reasonable likelihood of innocence as defined by the ABA Rules of Professional Conduct R 3.8.[1]

[1] ABA MODEL RULES OF PROF’L CONDUCT 3.8 (g) (2008) – “When a prosecutor knows of new, credible and material evidence creating a reasonable likelihood the defendant did not commit an offense of which the defendant has been convicted…”

 

Victim Role in Post-Conviction Review

The rights and well-being of the victim are of utmost concern during the post-conviction review process. The Agency will protect the privacy and safety of the victim while balancing the integrity of any re-investigation to ensure fairness in the search for the truth. Victim services including recommendations for support and resource referrals are available to include the assistance of a victim advocate within the Agency.

 

Meet Section Chief Lisa Lazzari-Strasiser

THIS OFFICE DOES NOT REPRESENT YOU, CANNOT GIVE LEGAL ADVICE AND THE ATTORNEY-CLIENT PRIVILEGE DOES NOT APPLY TO INFORMATION PROVIDED IN THE APPLICATION OR OTHER COMMUNICATION.