Contact: Teri Stoddard
Innocence Summit to Focus on Prosecutor Ethics Reform
WASHINGTON / February 11, 2014 – The Innocence Summit 2014, to be held June 20-21 in Washington DC, will focus on the need for ethics reform in the prosecutorial profession. The objective of the Summit will be the development of an Agenda for Prosecutor Reform. The Agenda will serve as a blueprint for state-level reform efforts across the nation.
Although most prosecutors are believed to practice in an ethical manner, documented cases of misconduct are reported on almost a daily basis. Last year, former Texas prosecutor Ken Anderson was convicted and jailed for evidence tampering, which resulted in the wrongful imprisonment of Michael Morton.
Alex Kozinski, chief judge of the Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit, has charged, “There is an epidemic of Brady violations abroad in the land.” Brady violations refers to the practice of concealing evidence that would establish the innocence of the defendant. According to the Registry of Prosecutorial Misconduct, Brady violations are the most common type of unethical practice: http://www.prosecutorintegrity.org/registry/database/
Jim Petro, former attorney general for the State of Ohio, will be the Summit keynote speaker. Jim and Nancy Petro are authors of the book, False Justice: Eight Myths that Convict the Innocent.
Other featured speakers include Angela Davis, professor at the American University School of Law and former director of the District of Columbia Public Defender Service; Gordon Smith, wrongfully arrested nine times on false allegations of domestic violence; and Radley Balko, criminal justice reporter for the Washington Post.
The Innocence Summit 2014 will highlight how the presumption of innocence is becoming lost in many areas of the law. According to the National Registry of Exonerations, over 1,300 persons to date have been wrongfully convicted and later exonerated.
A broad range of persons are expected to attend the Summit, including lawmakers, policymakers, prosecutors, defense attorneys, judges, law professors, journalists, citizen activists, and others. The Summit program and registration information can be viewed here: http://www.prosecutorintegrity.org/conference/
“As a former district attorney, I’m pleased to see the Innocence Movement focusing on how prosecutors can restore their role as ministers of justice,” notes CPI chairman Phillip Kuhn. “Prosecutors need to play an essential role in the ethics reform effort.”
The Center for Prosecutor Integrity is working to preserve the presumption of innocence, assure equal treatment under law, and bring an end to wrongful convictions: www.prosecutorintegrity.org