Claims of Factual Innocence

Review Process
Claims of Factual Innocence

The CIU reviews claims of factual innocence made either via its Application for Review or contained in a motion brought pursuant to Mass. R. Crim. P. 30. All claims of factual innocence are initially reviewed by the Director of the CIU. If the Director determines that the claimant has established a colorable basis to conclude that there is a doubt as to the integrity of the conviction, the Director forwards the claim to the Conviction Integrity Committee (“CIC”) for review.

Basic fairness requires that prosecutors’ offices be willing to step back and review their work.
— Middlesex District Attorney Marian Ryan

The CIC is comprised of senior and experienced trial and appellate MDAO 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 response to the claim is solely that 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