Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams has announced the
creation of a Conviction Review Unit within his office, which will
investigate claims of actual innocence that have been vetted by the
PA Innocence Project at Temple Law.
The initiative was praised by PA Innocence Project Legal
Director Marissa Bluestine, who cited the National Exoneration
Registry in noting that last year, 33 of 87 known exonerations of
the actually innocent were obtained at the initiative of or
cooperation with law enforcement.
District Attorney Williams has appointed 27-year veteran
prosecutor Mark Gilson to lead the unit. "We are looking
forward to working with Mr. Gilson and his staff to give full
evaluation to those cases where there is a colorable claim of
actual innocence," said Director Bluestine. "We believe that
all of the evidence should be reviewed dispassionately and
objectively to determine the truth, and that this unit embodies the
prosecutor's unique role as a minister of justice rather than a
mere crusader for convictions."