The Conviction Integrity Unit reviews claims of innocence or wrongful conviction resulting from prosecutions by the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office. The unit reviews any claim from a living person who was convicted in Cook County. Case intakes emanate from many sources, but typically are letters from the convicted person, their loved ones, and attorneys, post-conviction filings with actual innocence claims, innocence projects, and media or from an internal source such as an ASA in the Special Litigation Unit.
The unit was first formed in 2012 as an offshoot of the post-conviction unit to consider cases that raised claims of actual innocence. The unit is now located in the Special Prosecutions Bureau. It consists of five ASAs and one forensic scientist.
The work of the Conviction Integrity Unit is critical to the Office’s larger mission of working in the service of justice. Wrongful convictions undermine the integrity and legitimacy of the justice system, and the SAO is committed to addressing all claims of wrongful conviction with serious and thoughtful review. In the coming months, the SAO expects to further formalize the protocols that govern the work of the Conviction Integrity Unit, to ensure that members of the public are aware of the Unit and its work, and can easily obtain information about its operation.