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JeffCo. Bessemer division cutoff, DA establishes conviction integrity unit

Published: Nov. 30, 2020 at 10:45 PM CST
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - The District Attorney in Jefferson County’s Bessemer Division will start reviewing some cases next year to try to undo wrongful convictions she finds.

D.A. Lynniece Washington says cases that meet a strict set of conditions can be submitted to her office’s website beginning January 11th. Jefferson County Birmingham Division D.A. Danny Carr says his office will start accepting similar cases on January 1st.

Washington says her office will review Class A felony cases submitted to her office by inmates or by groups like Montgomery’s Equal Justice Initiative, which says thousands of people across the country have been wrongfully convicted.

Washington says the cases they review will be cases where all of the inmate’s appeals have been exhausted, and that will take time to resolve since the cases will likely be old and will need new evidence to overturn. That evidence, Washington says, “will have to make sure that evidence is credible, is verifiable and that we can attain it.”

Washington says her office “is not looking to be that 13th juror who says “let’s look at the weight of the evidence”, but for what she calls “absolute innocence, which means there is no responsibility for the crime that was committed”.

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