Is Official Connecticut finally aware of its Major Problem?
Subject : Committee on Wrongful convictions
A well functioning criminal justice system strives to punish the guilty and
protect the innocent. The imprisonment of innocent persons perverts this
purpose, undermining the confidence of the public, destroying the lives and
families of the wrongly convicted, falsely reassuring crime victims, and
allowing the real perpetrators the freedom to commit further crimes. The
Connecticut Advisory Commission on Wrongful Convictions' central mission is
to promote the appropriate measures to prevent the conviction of innocent
In implementing its mission, the Commission will have three primary goals.
First, it will provide a forum for dialogue, research, and education
regarding the causes of wrongful conviction. Second, it will suggest best
practices for law enforcement, prosecutors, defense attorneys, and judges
that will decrease the possibility of convicting an innocent person, thereby
helping to ensure the conviction only of the guilty. Third, the Commission
will serve as an effective mechanism to satisfy the public's desire that
something meaningful be done when cases of wrongful conviction become known.
This mechanism is intended to operate as an alternative to the possibility
of a reflexive response culminating in a legislative mandate.
Specific Commission objectives are:
To identify and study the most common causes of wrongful conviction,
both in Connecticut and nationally.
To educate the constituencies represented by Commission members, and
to educate the public, regarding causes of wrongful conviction.
To provide a forum for open and productive dialogue between
Commission members regarding causes of wrongful conviction.
To identify current Connecticut procedures implicated by causes of
wrongful conviction, and to recommend best practices in the form of
procedural, administrative, or statutory changes, or education and training.
To commission research on the issues surrounding wrongful
conviction, as the Commission deems necessary.
To consider potential implementation plans, cost implications, and
the impact on conviction of the guilty for each recommended best practice.
To issue reports recommending solutions for causes of wrongful
conviction identified, including recommended implementation plans, cost
implications, and potential impact on the conviction of the guilty, per §
54-102g(8)(c) of the general statutes.
At the Commission's discretion, to conduct investigations to
determine the cause or causes of individual cases of wrongful conviction in
the State of Connecticut, as authorized by § 54-102g(8)(b) of the general
At the Commission's discretion, to review additional cases that will
assist the Commission in understanding the causes of wrongful conviction.
* Assistant Professor James M. Adcock
Department of Criminal Justice
University of New Haven
* Attorney James W. Bergenn
Shipman, Goodwin, LLP
* State's Attorney Michael Dearington
New Haven Superior Court
* Attorney Brett Dignam
Clinical Professor of Law and Supervising Attorney
Yale Law School
* Thomas E. Flaherty, Executive Director
State of Connecticut Police Officer
Standards and Training Council
* Attorney John W. Hogan, Jr.
Berchem, Moses & Devlin, PC
* Honorable William J. Lavery, chairperson
Chief Court Administrator
CT Judicial Branch
* Representative Michael P. Lawlor
Co-Chairman, Judiciary Committee
* Chief of Police Robin Montgomery
Brookfield Police Department
* Chief State's Attorney Kevin Kane
Office of the Chief State's Attorney
* Timothy Palmbach
Director, Forensic Science Program
University of New Haven
* Attorney James F. Papillo
Office of the Victim Advocate
* Attorney Hope Seeley
Santos & Seeley, PC