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New York Adds Watchdog Organization For Prosecutors

Posted on: September 17th, 2018 by Sfl Media No Comments

Accurate court reporting is an important part of the criminal justice system, and so is fairness in prosecution.

New York state is working to reform its court system, and as part of that effort, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo has signed legislation establishing the nation’s first State Commission on Prosecutorial Conduct.

The Commission will review and investigate prosecutorial conduct to address allegations of misconduct which lead to malicious prosecutions and wrongful convictions, frequently impacting people of color and marginalized communities.

By avoiding wrongful convictions and associated retrial costs and settlements, the Commission will save taxpayers money, the state said in a statement.

“Our criminal justice system must fairly convict the guilty and exonerate the innocent,” Governor Cuomo said. “When any prosecutor consciously disregards that fundamental duty, communities suffer and lose faith in the system, and they must have a forum to be heard and seek justice. This first-in-the-nation Commission will serve to give New Yorkers comfort that there is a system of checks and balances in the criminal justice system, and to root out any potential abuses of power to ensure that our justice system is just for all New Yorkers.”

Senator John DeFrancisco said, “There have been many cases of individuals who’ve been wrongfully convicted and who’ve served jail time because of the misconduct of some prosecutors. Despite the good work of most prosecutors, there must be a remedy against those who violate the law. This prosecutorial conduct commission legislation, signed by the Governor today, will provide that remedy and also provide oversight by an independent body, which over time will change the conduct of the wrongdoing of prosecutors, and help to ensure all a fairer criminal justice system.”

Governor Cuomo also led a successful effort to expand New York’s DNA databank in 2012, making New York the first state in the nation to require DNA samples from anyone convicted of a felony or Penal Law misdemeanor.

The Governor also established the Work for Success Initiative which has helped over 18,000 formerly incarcerated people find work upon their release.