Division will be housed at the State Public Defender’s office and will focus on reviewing and identifying potential cases involving wrongful convictions
(DES MOINES) – Today, during the Administration’s weekly press conference, Gov. Terry Branstad and State Public Defender Adam Gregg announced the creation of the Wrongful Conviction Division at the Office of the State Public Defender. The Wrongful Conviction Division will systematically review and identify potential cases involving wrongful convictions and pursue available legal remedies.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation recently admitted to serious errors in its testimony in cases involving hair comparison analysis. The Wrongful Conviction Division is partnering with the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation, the Innocence Project of Iowa, and the Midwest Innocence Project to determine whether similar errors have occurred in Iowa cases. If such errors are identified, the Wrongful Conviction Division will pursue existing legal remedies, such as post-conviction relief.
“In Iowa, we have great confidence in our criminal justice system,” said Branstad. “However, even in a well-regarded system, we know issues can arise. The creation of the Wrongful Conviction Division within the State Public Defender’s Office, and its collaboration with the Division of Criminal Investigation and existing innocence organizations, will help us ensure that our criminal justice system gets it right.”
The Wrongful Conviction Division will be led by Audrey McGinn, formerly of the California Innocence Project. During her time at the California Innocence Project, McGinn had a hand in seven exonerations, and helped found ten innocence projects throughout Latin America. Her position was created by repurposing a vacant full time employee position, using existing appropriated funding.
More information can be found at the website of the State Public Defender, www.spd.iowa.gov
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