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For Immediate Release Contact: Christopher BorekTuesday, June 12, 2018 845.291.3276, 845.238.4245c
Over Thirty Cases Reviewed; No Allegations Found Sufficient to Warrant Relief
Orange County District Attorney David M. Hoovler, on Tuesday, June 12, 2018, released current information about the operation of the District Attorney’s Office’s Conviction Integrity Program (CIP). District Attorney Hoovler established the Conviction Integrity Program almost three years ago, in July 2015, to provide a mechanism to review cases where a convicted defendant, or someone acting on behalf of a defendant, claims that the defendant was convicted of a crime that he or she did not commit, or was convicted of a crime that was grossly disproportionate to the criminal conduct that the defendant did commit.
The CIP program establishes a CIP Committee, which investigates claims of innocence and claims of over-conviction, and recommends to the District Attorney courses of action necessary to fairly resolve those claims. The Committee is made up of five members of the District Attorney’s staff, one of whom acts as the CIP Coordinator; two criminal defense attorneys; and two local police chiefs. The membership of the Committee was selected to provide representation from outside of the District Attorney’s Office, and representation from the criminal defense bar, to give the committee some independence, and to provide multiple perspectives on the issues that the Committee will consider.
When a defendant or someone acting on behalf of a defendant makes a written claim of innocence or of over-conviction, the CIP process will begin to consider the claim. The outcome of the CIP process will range from summary denial of facially frivolous claims by the CIP Coordinator, in consultation with the District Attorney; to a detailed review by the CIP Committee; all the way to complete re-investigation of cases where the claim appears to have merit. If the program establishes that a claim is valid, the District Attorney’s staff will do whatever it can to get the case before the proper court to ensure that a just outcome is achieved.
Since the inception of the CIP, 35 claims have been reviewed. Four of those claims had been reviewed and denied before the CIP was instituted, and the CIP Coordinator took a second look at them and determined that the original rejection of the claim was appropriate. Most of the remaining claims were summarily denied by the CIP Coordinator, after consultation with the District Attorney, and denied for various reasons, including because they were frivolous on their faces, or because they raised legal issues that did not reflect on the factual guilt or innocence of the defendant. One case was subjected to a review by the CIP Committee, and the Committee unanimously rejected that claim as well.
“I established the Conviction Integrity Program to help ensure that we do the right thing in every case,” said District Attorney Hoovler, “and that in those extremely rare cases where mistakes are made, we find them and act to remedy any miscarriage of justice. After three years of the operation of the program, I’m relieved to see that fresh eyes on the 35 cases that we’ve reviewed have not found any reason to question the outcome of those cases. The program remains available, however, to ensure that in the future we will provide a mechanism for the review of cases on behalf of those who claim to have been wrongly convicted or convicted of disproportionately serious charges.”
To make a claim under the Orange County Conviction Integrity Program, send the claim in writing to CIP Coordinator Robert J. Conflitti, Counsel to the District Attorney, at the District Attorney’s Office, County Government Center, 255-275 Main Street, Fourth Floor, Goshen, New York 10924. And other interested parties may contact Mr. Conflitti for further information about the program.