DA Candidate Berube Plans Conviction Integrity Division
Poughkeepsie, NY – Former Assistant Dutchess County District Attorney, Richard Berube, who is now running for District Attorney, plans to create a Conviction Integrity Division if elected. This division would seek to prevent wrongful convictions and address claims of innocence. The Conviction Integrity Division will consist of three components: a Conviction Integrity Committee, a Conviction Integrity Chief, and an outside Conviction Integrity Policy Advisory Panel.
Prosecutors work to ensure that only the guilty are convicted but they are subject to human error. When the Office is believed to have prosecuted or may be prosecuting someone who is innocent, steps need to be taken to ensure justice is served.
“We have witnessed the Dutchess County District Attorney’s office violate a defendant’s rights, which cost $8 million in a taxpayer funded bailout,” said Berube. “By instituting a Conviction Integrity Division, we will protect the system so the spirit of the law is upheld and justice prevails. This will protect the innocent and, quite frankly, the taxpayer.”
District Attorney Grady’s office was found to violate the Brady rule which requires that the prosecution to hand over potentially exonerating evidence to the defense. Dutchess County was forced to pay defendant, Dewey Bozella, $8 million in an agreement reached in federal district court.
The Conviction Integrity Division will be comprised of two senior members of the District Attorney’s office and two criminal defense lawyers. They will review practices and policies related to case assessment, investigation and disclosure obligations. Berube will appoint a Conviction Integrity Chief to report directly to the District Attorney and lead in the re-investigation of any meaningful claims of actual innocence.
Finally, a Conviction Integrity Policy Advisory Panel comprised of leading criminal justice experts and legal scholars will be created. The Panel will advise the Office on national best practices and evolving issues in the area of wrongful convictions.
A similar Integrity division has successfully operated for a number of years in Orange County under the leadership of District Attorney David Hoovler. Recently Ulster County District Attorney Holley Carnright formed the Conviction Integrity Unit.