Thursday, April 7, 2016

Statement from District Attorney Ramos regarding formation of Conviction Review Unit

SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. – The mission of the San Bernardino County District Attorney’s Office is to ensure justice is done by seeking the truth, protecting the innocent, holding the guilty accountable, preserving the dignity of victims and their families, while maintaining the highest ethical standards. I am proud to say that we are accomplishing our mission. According to the latest data from the National Registry of Exonerations, which researches and documents every wrongful conviction exoneration in the nation, San Bernardino County had zero exonerations.

Our record of only convicting the guilty is due to many factors. Primarily it exists because our prosecutors work tirelessly every day to “do the right thing” on every case. We have policies and procedures in place to ensure that full and complete discovery is given to the defense on every case. We train on the unique and stringent ethical requirements for prosecutors and have imbued our entire office with a culture that places ethics above all else. Our county’s police agencies likewise put the highest value on conducting fair and ethical investigations.

However, as prosecutors, our duty to obtain justice never ends. Recent advances in technology and scientific evidence, such as DNA, could possibly cast doubt on some convictions. New witnesses or evidence may be discovered, years after a conviction, that could call into question a defendant’s guilt. It is important that we have a formal procedure to review these cases and determine whether an innocent person has been wrongfully convicted. For these reasons, I am pleased to announce that I have formed a Conviction Review Unit. The Conviction Review Unit will be responsible for reviewing qualifying claims that an innocent person was wrongfully convicted. 

For more information on how to submit an application for review, visit http://www.sbcountyda.org/ProsecutingCriminals/ConvictionReviewUnit.aspx

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