By Eric Siddall
When District Attorney Jackie Lacey launched the Conviction Review Unit, the ADDA applauded this move. We wrote back in April 2015 that: “We especially recognize the importance of this new program, because our sacred duties as prosecutors do not end when we convict the guilty. Our goal is to do justice. This requires review of new evidence that may exonerate those previously convicted. It requires us to make sure that proper procedures were observed during the trial process.”
Last week, CRU did justice. Mr. Martinez was convicted of a series of armed robberies. Mr. Martinez contacted CRU and asked them to review his case. They did just that and found him innocent. “This case – brought to our attention by an inmate who was not represented by an attorney – is a powerful example of why we need dedicated conviction review units,” District Attorney Lacey said. “Although the vast majority of convictions are correctly upheld, I knew that, at times, the pursuit of justice is not perfect,” District Attorney Lacey continued. “And Mr. Martinez’s case serves as a stark reminder to all of us: Despite our best efforts, we don’t always get it right.”
The ADDA wants to thank our District Attorney for making the integrity of our prosecutions a priority. We also want to acknowledge the incredible work done by our fellow Deputy District Attorneys who worked on behalf of Mr. Martinez.
Eric Siddall is Vice President of the Association of Los Angeles Deputy District Attorneys, the collective bargaining agent representing nearly 1,000 Deputy District Attorneys who work for the County of Los Angeles.