Conviction Integrity Unit
The Conviction Integrity Unit is a unit within the Office of the Chief State’s Attorney that independently reviews and re-evaluates past convictions to ensure justice and implement safeguards that guarantee Connecticut’s criminal justice system is working fairly. The Unit is staffed by two prosecutors, three police inspectors and a paralegal specialist.
The Conviction Integrity Unit reinvestigates eligible cases of convicted persons who claim to be wrongfully convicted and cases where there are questions about the integrity of the investigation that resulted in a conviction. The unit was formed using best practices derived from units created in jurisdictions in other states. These practices were modified to fit Connecticut’s unique criminal justice structure.
All eligible cases are screened by the Conviction Integrity Unit. Cases requiring a full investigation are considered by members of the Conviction Review Panel which includes two current or former prosecutors with no connection to the underlying conviction, one retired State of Connecticut judge/justice or federal judge and a Connecticut-barred attorney with extensive experience in state criminal defense.
To read the Conviction Integrity Unit's protocols, click this link.
The Division’s creation of the Conviction Integrity Unit is a reflection of its commitment to the ongoing duty to see that justice is done in all cases. The Unit operates as an additional layer of review, separate and apart from the post-judgment collateral challenges afforded to prisoners by statute.
As of December 31, 2022, the unit has received 131 cases and following lengthy reinvestigations, has closed 52 cases, with 79 still under review.
Many of the recommendations for Connecticut’s Unit came from the Conviction Integrity Unit Working Group which was formed in January 2020. The working group included criminal justice experts from Division of Criminal Justice community partners, including:
- Retired Chief Justice of the Connecticut Supreme Court, the Hon. Chase T. Rogers
- Retired Chief Public Defender Susan O. Storey
- Retired Chief State’s Attorney Kevin T. Kane
- Melvin J. Medina and Kelly Moore of the American Civil Liberties Union – Smart Justice Campaign
- Attorney and Criminal Justice Commission Member Reginald Dwayne Betts
- Fiona Doherty, Deputy Dean for Experiential Education and Clinical Professor of Law at Yale Law School
- Deputy Chief State’s Attorney Kevin D. Lawlor
- Former New Britain State’s Attorney now Superior Court Judge Brian W. Preleski
This group met extensively during 2020 and produced a basic framework and best practice recommendations to assure that the Unit works effectively and more importantly, provides confidence to the public that the criminal justice system has an effective capability to review integrity issues of any kind including, but not limited to, wrongful convictions.
Timeline of Formation of the Conviction Integrity Unit
February 2021 – The Division requests funding for a Conviction Integrity Unit from the Joint Committee on Appropriations.
October 2021 – Funding becomes available for the unit and by December 2021 the unit, still not fully staffed, becomes operational.
December 31, 2022 – Of the 131 cases submitted for review, the unit has closed 52 cases, with 79 still under review. Upon closure, a letter specifying the rational is sent to the claimant/requestor.
Requirements for Review
Claimant/Requestor can be a convicted person, attorney for a convicted person, representative of a convicted person, the Chief State’s Attorney, a State’s Attorney, the Civil Litigation Bureau, the Appellate Bureau, the Superior, Appellate or Supreme Court.
The convicted person must have been convicted in state court in Connecticut by trial or by guilty plea.
The convicted person need not be currently incarcerated or serving a sentence imposed in connection with the conviction. However, the Unit will prioritize the claims of convicted persons who are currently incarcerated or serving a sentence imposed in connection with the conviction.
The claim must identify plausible and verifiable evidence that, if true, would reasonably support a claim of (1) actual innocence or (2) cause a reasonable person to lose confidence in the conviction due to issues of official misconduct, discredited forensic or eyewitness evidence, the misapplication of forensic science, or due process violations. If the application presents plausible and verifiable evidence that may cause a reasonable person to lose confidence in the integrity of the conviction, the case is sent to the Conviction Review Panel. The Unit's synopsis of the case and the Panel's recommendation will be shared with the petitioner and/or petitioner's counsel, to any victims of the underlying crime and will be available to the public on the Division of Criminal Justice's website.
Requests for review should be made by filling out a form which is available by clicking the following link:
• Division of Criminal Justice Conviction Integrity Unit Request For Review
Once the form is complete, please send via email DCJ.CIU@ct.gov or regular mail to:
Supervisory Assistant State’s Attorney Joseph Valdes
Conviction Integrity Unit
300 Corporate Place
Rocky Hill, CT 06067
After Requests for Review, personnel from the Unit visit defendants to discuss their claims. Prior to those visits, a written waiver/authorization may be signed by the defendant. The waiver will allow the Conviction Integrity Unit to contact and speak with previous attorneys regarding any non-privileged matters, and allow the Unit access to the client file as maintained by the previous attorney and view any information other than privileged communications or attorney work-product contained within the file. If the Unit decides to close the investigation, a letter with a written rationale will be sent to the petitioner and/or petitioner's counsel.
The waiver is available by clicking the following link:
• Division of Criminal Justice Conviction Integrity Unit Waiver/Authorization Form
For questions about the Conviction Integrity Unit, call 860-258-5814 or send an email to DCJ.CIU@ct.gov.
Conviction Integrity Unit Review Panel Reports and Findings
02/03/2023 State v. Valentine Conviction Integrity Unit Review Panel's Report to the Chief State's Attorney and State's Attorney for the Judicial District of New Haven/State v. Valentine Conviction Integrity Unit Synopsis and Findings
05/16/23 State v. Gould Conviction Integrity Unit Preliminary Synopsis and Findings This investigation was not reviewed by the Conviction Integrity Unit Panel. The New Haven State’s Attorney’s Office conducted a full review of the Gould matter prior to creation of the CIU. The CIU conducted further interviews and prepared a report for the recently appointed New Haven State’s Attorney, John P. Doyle, Jr. State’s Attorney Doyle was not a party to the earlier review. The case was updated and documented for the further consideration by State’s Attorney Doyle.
04/07/23 State v. Taylor Conviction Integrity Unit Preliminary Synopsis and Findings The Hartford State's Attorney's Office requested that the CIU gather certain documentation following a request for sentence modification. The defendant agreed to withdraw a pending habeas and waive any future habeas, civil, or federal claims, and any other claims including further conviction integrity review related to his conviction, in exchange for an agreed upon sentence modification.