08 Sep, 2021
Webinar Series: International Wrongful Conviction Review Models
ICCLR, in collaboration with Innocence Canada, UBC Innocence Project and Courthouse Libraries BC, are pleased to present the following two webinars exploring international wrongful conviction review models. Participants of each webinar may claim up to 1.5hrs of CPD with LSBC.
Criminal Case Review Commissions: Independent Commissions and Post-Conviction Review
Date: Thursday, September 23, 2021
Time: 12:30 – 2:00 pm PDT
The investigation into and identification of wrongful convictions has grown exponentially in the last 20 years. Historically, the wrongly convicted in Commonwealth jurisdictions have relied on their governments to review their convictions and send their cases back to the courts to seek relief. Challenges including funding, delay, and lack of transparency have led some of these jurisdictions to create independent bodies to conduct these conviction reviews to determine whether a conviction might have resulted in a miscarriage of justice and to send these cases back to the courts for a final decision.
In this 1.5hr webinar, you will hear from representatives of criminal case review commissions in England, Scotland and New Zealand to hear why their commissions were established, how they operate and the challenges they encounter.
Please join us to hear from the following esteemed guests:
- Colin Carruthers, QC, Chief Commissioner, and Tim McKinnel, Investigations and Review Manager: New Zealand Criminal Case Review Commission
- Michael Walker, Head of Casework: Scotland Criminal Case Review Commission
- Karen Kneller, Chief Executive and Linda Lee, Commissioner: Criminal Cases Review Commission (England, Wales, Northern Ireland)
Conviction Integrity Units (CIUs): The Evolving Role of US Prosecutors in Uncovering Wrongful Convictions
Date: Wednesday, September 29, 2021
Time: 12:30 – 2:00 pm PDT
Wrongful convictions have garnered a great deal of recent attention in the media and within the criminal justice system. In response, a growing number of District Attorney Offices are investing in the development and implementation of Conviction Integrity Units to re-examine questionable convictions and guard against errors in prosecutions. The design, mandate, implementation and reach of CIUs varies from one US jurisdiction to another. The implementation of some CIUs, particularly those situated in highly charged and/or adversarial environments, may be more constrained, complex and challenging, whereas others may be better resourced and able to extend case review beyond wrongful convictions with the assistance of an expansive staff and investigative resources.
This 1.5hr webinar will explore the roles, responsibilities, opportunities and challenges that CIUs face in the evolution of combatting wrongful convictions. Hear about the practical issues that US prosecutors face in evaluating, investigating, and responding to innocence claims and learn more about the ethical considerations that arise for the prosecution in handling wrongful conviction cases.
The distinguished faculty of this program represent several of the leading CIUs in the United States. We are pleased to have the following esteemed guests as the panelists:
- Patricia Cummings, Supervisor of the Conviction Integrity Unit, Office of the District Attorney, City and County of Philadelphia
Patricia Cummings has practiced criminal and juvenile law for almost 30 years and has been board certified in both specialties for almost 20 years. Shortly after Larry Krasner was elected as District Attorney in Philadelphia, Krasner hired Patricia to lead his efforts in revamping the office’s Conviction Review Unit (CRU). Patricia is one of three former Chiefs who lead the Conviction Integrity Unit in the Dallas County District Attorney’s Office. One of the first steps taken in regard to the efforts to revamp the Philadelphia CRU was to rename the unit the Conviction Integrity Unit (CIU) to more accurately reflect its mission of reviewing convictions and sentences that lack integrity. That mission is being carried out as reflected in the fact that the CIU has been responsible for 23 exonerations since February 1, 2018. For more information about the Philadelphia’s District Attorney Conviction Integrity Unit, please visit the Unit’s most recently published report available at http://tinyurl.com/CIUreport. Before moving to Philadelphia, Patricia was the Director of Policy and Litigation for the Innocence Project of Texas and General Counsel for the Texas Criminal Defense Lawyers Association where she led the policy efforts during the 84th and 85th Texas Regular Legislative Sessions. During the 83rd Texas Regular Legislative Session, Patricia helped secure criminal discovery reform in Texas with the passage of the Michael Morton Act in 2013 after having served as a pro bono member of Michael Morton’s legal team (Morton is one of Texas’s most renown exonerees). Patricia began her career as a briefing attorney for the Eighth District Court of Appeals in El Paso, Texas. After leaving the court, she went to work for the Williamson County Attorney’s Office in Georgetown, Texas as the County Juvenile Prosecutor. Patricia then transitioned into private practice where she focused her attention on criminal and juvenile defense. From 2002 to 2014, she taught at the Criminal Defense Clinic at the University of Texas, School of Law. Patricia grew up in El Paso, Texas and is a graduate of the University of Texas and the University of Houston Law Center.
- Mark Hale, (recently retired) Assistant District Attorney of the Brooklyn (NY) District Attorney’s Office and Chief of the Post Conviction Bureau and Conviction Review Unit
Mark Hale retired this past July after 38 years as an Assistant District Attorney with the Brooklyn (NY) District Attorney’s Office, the last seven of which he was Chief of the office’s Post Conviction Bureau and Conviction Review Unit. In those seven years, the Conviction Review Unit vacated the convictions of 30 individuals under Mr. Hale’s supervision. Prior to his last assignment, Mr. Hale was a trial prosecutor during which time he tried approximately 200 cases, predominately homicides, to jury verdicts. In 2014, Mr. Hale was the recipient of the Thomas E. Dewey Medal from the New York City Bar Association. Mr. Hale is a graduate of Kent State University and The Ohio State University, Michael Moritz College of Law.
- Martha Carillo, CRU Deputy in Charge of the Los Angeles (CA) District Attorney’s Office
Martha Carillo serves as the Deputy District Attorney IV for the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office. She also serves as the Deputy in Charge of the Conviction Integrity Unit overseeing attorneys, investigators and administrative staff in evaluating claims of actual innocence and/or wrongful conviction. To date, she has led the unit in two of its most recent exonerations of individuals who have been wrongfully convicted of felony offences they did not commit. She has prosecuted cases within the justice system integrity division and the sex crimes division. In 2016, she was awarded the Distinguished Woman in Public Service Recognition by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
- Arielle Demby Berger, Assistant State Attorney and CRU Founder of the Broward County (FL) State Attorney’s Office
Arielle Demby Berger is an experienced attorney with multi-faceted litigation experience as an assistant state attorney, assistant attorney general, and special statewide prosecutor. She is the Founder and Assistant State Attorney of the Conviction Review Unit of the Office of the State Attorney, 17th Judicial Circuit in Florida where she reviews and investigates all cases and claims presented for exoneration.
- Cynthia R. Garza, Special Fields Bureau Chief of the Dallas County District Attorney’s Office’s and Chief of the Conviction Integrity Unit (CIU)
Ms. Garza graduated magna cum laude with a double undergraduate degree in Sociology and Psychology, with distinction, from Southern Methodist University in 2001. She received her law degree in 2004 from Southern Methodist University Dedman School of Law. Ms. Garza established her own law firm after graduation and later joined a criminal defense firm where she honed her skills in appellate and post-conviction criminal defense. Ms. Garza joined the Dallas County District Attorney’s Office’s Appellate Division in 2008 and joined the Conviction Integrity Unit in January 2010. Ms. Garza served as Acting Chief of the Unit for 10 months before being named the Chief of the CIU in July 2017. She has been involved in a significant percentage of the Unit’s exonerations. Ms. Garza is the longest tenured prosecutor in any Conviction Integrity Unit in the nation and is frequently contacted by other jurisdictions for advice on establishing a CIU or best practices in running their CIU. She trains prosecutors in Dallas County, as well as travels around the state and country training criminal justice stakeholders and speaking about actual innocence and wrongful convictions. Ms. Garza also participates in legislative efforts to improve the criminal justice system in Texas, and is consulted by jurisdictions for input on criminal justice reform efforts around the nation. Ms. Garza was awarded the La Cima Latina Government Leader by the Greater Dallas Hispanic Chamber of Commerce in 2014 for her work in the CIU. She was also named District Attorney Employee of the Month by Dallas County in February 2019 and received a Profiles in Leadership award from Southern Methodist University’s Women’s Symposium in March 2020. Ms. Garza has served on the Board of Directors for various bar associations, including the Dallas Hispanic Bar Association (DHBA) and Dallas Association of Young Lawyers (DAYL), and is currently on the Emerging Leaders Board for Southern Methodist University Dedman School of Law.
Photo by Tingey Injury Law Firm on Unsplash.