Conviction Integrity Unit Explained
The Conviction Integrity Unit is a department within the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office that seeks to investigate claims of innocence among those who have been convicted and imprisoned for a variety of serious crimes. The Conviction Integrity Unit looks to determine if there is new evidence that is clear and convincing that the person convicted was not the person who committed the alleged crime. The Conviction Integrity Unit has three attorneys working full time, two part time, as well as a full-time investigator and full-time administrative staff member. Since its inception in 2018, the Wayne County Conviction Integrity Unit has granted 20 exonerations to those wrongly convicted and imprisoned. Among them is Richard Phillips, a man who spent the longest time in prison before being exonerated after 45 years in prison for a murder he did not commit. Various groups such as the University of Michigan Law School Innocence Project have been instrumental in investigating and helping bring claims forward for those who have been wrongfully convicted and imprisoned.