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Wayne County to add special unit to investigate possible wrongful convictions

Kym Worthy
Jodi Westrick
Michigan Radio
Kym Worthy (file photo)

Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy is adding staff to look into possible wrongful convictions.

"No prosecutor wants to be party to knowingly convicting or keeping someone in prison that is either factually not guilty or a case we can't sustain," Worthy told the Associated Press. "We should not be afraid to have a unit like this."

This announcement comes on the heels of a few recent conviction reversals in Detroit. In one case, a man spent 40 years in prison for a crime he didn't commit.

David Moran is head of the Innocence Clinic at the University of Michigan, which investigates and litigates cases for prisoners who say they've been wrongfully imprisoned. The organization focuses on cases that may not have DNA evidence.

"The hope is that [they] have a truly independent set of lawyers who would be able to do the right thing in a case, even if other people in the office are unhappy about it," Moran said.

A "Conviction Integrity Unit" existed in Wayne County until 2013, when it was disbanded to save money.

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