State Attorney Andrew H. Warren Unveils Groundbreaking Conviction Review Unit

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State Attorney Andrew H. Warren Unveils Groundbreaking Conviction Review Unit

Andrew WarrenThe Office of State Attorney Andrew H. Warren today announced the creation of a Conviction Review Unit (CRU), a specialized division within the Office that works to prevent, identify, and remedy wrongful convictions. 

This landmark initiative makes Hillsborough County the third judicial circuit in the state and one of approximately 35 jurisdictions nationally to establish a Conviction Review Unit (CRU).

The Conviction Review Unit will help ensure that innocent citizens are not punished for crimes they did not commit while actual perpetrators remain free. “I have held the hands of victims in the courtroom, and I’ve listened to men and women who were on death row for crimes that they did not commit. No one benefits from convicting an innocent person,” said State Attorney Warren. “Wrongful convictions tear at the foundation of our system and everything that prosecutors and our law enforcement partners stand for: public safety, fairness, and justice.”

Newly hired Assistant State Attorney Teresa Hall will lead the Unit with an investigator and support staff. Hall brings extensive experience as a prosecutor, defense attorney, and criminal magistrate judge in Indianapolis, Indiana and Tampa.

An Independent Review Panel from outside the State Attorney’s Office will collaborate with the CRU to provide additional analysis and evaluation of cases under review. This volunteer panel includes three heavyweights of the Florida legal community: Florida Supreme Court Justice Peggy A. Quince, former State Attorney and Appellate Judge E.J. Salcines, and former Second District Court of Appeal Judge Chris Altenbernd. Justice Quince will join the panel after her retirement from the Florida Supreme Court in January.

The Innocence Project, a leading national organization for the wrongly convicted, expressed support for the CRU. "In the last few years, dozens of innocent people have been freed from prison as the direct result of the independent investigations conducted by Conviction Review Units in a select group of prosecutors' offices around the nation,” said Nina Morrison, senior staff attorney, the Innocence Project (NY, NY).

Barry C. Scheck, renowned attorney, co-founder and co-director of the Innocence Project applauded State Attorney Warren's leadership in setting up Hillsborough County's first-ever CRU, and looks forward to working with Warren’s team on this critical truth-seeking endeavor.

To date, there have been more than 2,000 exonerations in the United States, including 164 death row exonerations. State Attorney Warren believes one wrongful conviction is one too many. 

“I applaud State Attorney Warren’s enduring commitment to work inside and outside the courtroom,” said Eric Ward, former chief of police, Tampa Police Department. “Establishing a Conviction Review Unit is a smart move in the right direction to seek justice for victims and explore reforms that strengthen the criminal justice system.”

Website is enabled to download CRU petitions.

Daryl Johnson

Daryl is a retired Plant Mgr from USPS. He has published N-TOUCH News since 1996 and is CEO of Intercultural Communications, Inc. Husband to Tampa Bay Tammy & proud father of 3 beautiful daughters and 1 son (deceased)
Category: Enlightenment

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