Conviction-review unit includes criminal justice reformers
FARMINGTON, Utah (AP) — A Utah prosecutor has established a new unit dedicated to reviewing cases for possible wrongful convictions.
The panel established by Davis County Attorney Troy Rawlings differs from many others by including criminal-justice reform advocates from American Civil Liberties Union of Utah and Libertas Institute.
“We want people who are passionate about the criminal justice system, treating people right and getting it right,” Rawlings said. The nine-person panel also includes lawyers, a former sheriff and two people who work in higher education, the Salt Lake Tribune reported.
The volunteer team will be led by Glen Dawson, a retired Davis County judge.
Dawson pointed to a case he presided over, where Rawlings asked for a conviction to be vacated for a 17-year-old boy who was found guilty in a 1996 fatal shooting motel clerk during a botched robbery. Rawlings said then the teen didn’t get a fair trial, and he felt the conviction should be tossed.
“He did the right thing,” Dawson said of Rawlings.
People can ask for a review if convicted of a felony. Application must be based on “credible and verifiable evidence of innocence” or new technologies to test or retest relevant evidence.
Similar Utah panels exist in Salt Lake, Summit and Utah counties.