Conviction Integrity Units here in Texas are working to ensure the integrity of convictions.
These are units within a district attorney’s office that handle all post-conviction reviews, writs of habeas corpus, Chapter 64 motions, clemency, and commutation petitions. They only handle cases where a person was convicted of a misdemeanor or a felony in their county.
The CUI investigates claims of actual innocence and wrongful convictions by persons who have been convicted by the county district attorney’s office and do not have a pending post-conviction writ of habeas corpus.
Texas has been a national leader in getting these units set up. Right now these counties are the ONLY counties in Texas that have them:
- Bexar County
- Travis County
- Harris County
- Dallas County
Keep in mind, these are not magical.
The CIU cannot re-open a case and investigate it as if it were a new case where no one has been convicted.
The CIU does not make findings or determinations of actual innocence or wrongful conviction.
It is incumbent upon the convicted person to file an 11.07 writ of habeas corpus seeking a court finding or determination that the convicted person is actually innocent or was wrongfully convicted.
The CIU operates by these guidelines and will review cases in which:
- There is new evidence in the case
- Relevant evidence that went untested in the case at the time of trial,
- Or there is now some other new evidence of innocence or that a person was wrongfully convicted.
So you need to meet one or several of these standards. They do not review every case. They do not retry a case.
The CIU Mission
The mission of the Conviction Integrity Unit is to conduct objective reviews of final convictions to determine whether there is some manifest injustice that may be corrected by the procedures provided by post-conviction law.
Their goal is to ensure that the right person is convicted of the crime. If there is evidence that someone else is responsible, then the unit will work to correct the injustice.
In some cases, the work of the Conviction Integrity Unit has helped to exonerate wrongfully convicted people. In some cases, it has brought the actual perpetrator to justice. The CIUs also work with national advocacy groups such as the Innocence Project to facilitate discovery and help navigate post-conviction relief in certain cases.
If your loved one was convicted in any of these counties, and you meet one or several of the guidelines, we suggest reaching out to the CIU and asking them to review the case.
Links to Conviction Integrity Units for more information and applications-
Bexar County – Conviction Integrity Unit
Travis County – Conviction Integrity Unit
Harris County – Conviction Integrity Unit
Dallas County – Conviction Integrity Unit
The duties of the CIU can vary from state to state. These states currently have CIus: Texas, California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Kansas, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Maryland, Nevada, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Tennesee.
For a list and links to all the Conviction Integrity Units across the United States:
University of Michigan Law school National Registry of Exonerations – Conviction Integrity Units in the United States