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Redress and Prevent Wrongful Convictions

Tess has represented people who spent decades in prison for crimes they did not commit. She knows how the criminal justice system can destroy the life of an innocent person wrongfully accused or convicted. She will use the power of the Bronx District Attorney’s Office to prevent wrongful convictions in the future, and right the wrongful convictions of the past.

To do that, Tess will:

  • Fix the Conviction Integrity Bureau. Tess knows the agony of waiting for the system to correct its mistakes. She has seen it on the faces of her clients. Once elected, she will significantly increase the staff and resources of the Conviction Integrity Bureau to address the pending backlog of cases and ensure that new cases are evaluated promptly. The Bureau will also increase office-wide trainings and ensure compliance with the office policies that prevent wrongful convictions from happening in the first place. 

  • Establish Brady lists. Police misconduct is the number one cause of wrongful convictions in this country. In New York City, there have been numerous examples of police lying about evidence, which has resulted in innocent people pleading guilty to crimes they did not commit and serving sentences they don’t deserve. One way we can work to prevent these injustices from happening is by using a Brady list to ensure our cases do not turn on the testimony of law enforcement officers with a history of dishonesty. But that list will only be as effective as the processes for creating and maintaining it, so Tess will also establish robust and transparent Brady list protocols.

  • Provide timely discovery. It is critical that we provide timely discovery to defense counsel to ensure a fair trial. Tess will use her experience in complex investigations and prosecutions to improve upon the office’s current investigation and discovery practices.

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