Claims of a Miscarriage of Justice

Review Process
Claims of a Miscarriage of Justice

Even where a claimant does not assert factual innocence, something may have happened during the pendency of their case that resulted in a fundamental unfairness and miscarriage of justice that undermines the claimant’s conviction. Therefore, the CIU reviews claims of fundamental miscarriages of justice just as it does claims of factual innocence made either via its Application for Review or contained in a motion brought pursuant to Mass. R. Crim. P. 30. Such claims of a miscarriage of justice are initially reviewed by the Director of the CIU. If the Director determines that the claimant has established a colorable basis to conclude that the asserted miscarriage of justice may undermine the integrity of the conviction, the Director forwards the claim to the Conviction Integrity Committee (“CIC”) for review.

The CIC is comprised of senior and experienced trial and appellate prosecutors that were not part of the original prosecution team. The Director of the CIU, with the assistance of the Appeals and Training Bureau, presents the case to the CIC which conducts a de novo review of the defendant’s claim. Such review includes any information provided by the defendant or their counsel.

After the presentation and review, the CIC deliberates and determines by a majority vote whether it has continued confidence in the integrity of the defendant’s conviction. Based on this vote, the CIC makes a recommendation to the District Attorney. The final determination regarding the applicant's claim is solely within the discretion of the District Attorney.

The CIU's review of claims of factual innocence is conducted in accordance with the below guidelines.

Start an Application for Review