Conviction Integrity Unit

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The Plymouth County District Attorney’s Office embraces the greater moral duties of a prosecutor as the representative of the people, recognizing that the government has a broader and deeper duty, to seek justice, including remedying injustices. Our “interest, therefore, in a criminal prosecution is not that [he] shall win a case, but that justice shall be done. As such, he is in a peculiar and very definite sense the servant of the law, the twofold aim of which is that guilt shall not escape or innocence suffer.”  Berger v. United States, 295 U.S. 78, 88, 55 S. Ct. 629, 633, 79 L. Ed. 1314 (1935).

As a prosecutor for 23 years, District Attorney Timothy J. Cruz has been the one constant in Plymouth County while crimes rates, homicide rates, and incarceration rates have decreased.  The Plymouth County District Attorney’s Office makes a difference, every single day, working to protect the citizens of Plymouth County by reducing criminal activity not only through prosecution, but also by implementing prevention and intervention strategies. Accountability is the hallmark of District Attorney Timothy Cruz’s Office. Not only does the Office strive to hold accountable those who victimize others, but the Office equally strives to be the best version of itself, by holding itself accountable to fairness, working hard, treating others with respect, embracing diversity, and promoting learning. An accountable criminal justice system fosters community trust. 

The Plymouth County District Attorney’s Conviction Integrity Unit is dedicated to investigating and recommending necessary action in cases in which a claim of wrongful conviction or actual innocence has been brought to the attention of the District Attorney.  When an erroneous conviction occurs, the District Attorney is often the right person, who can take remedial action for the defendant and community. District Attorney Cruz is committed to such accountability when there is the lack of fairness and integrity that is so crucial to the community’s trust in the criminal justice system.

The criminal justice system sets a high bar to conviction: a trial before a jury of members of the community, at which proof beyond a reasonable doubt must be established, based on reliable, credible evidence that is only admitted with judicial approval.  Nonetheless, like all human undertakings and institutions, sometimes there are errors that require investigation, intervention and extraordinary relief. 

Whether the claim of innocence or wrongful conviction is due to newly discovered evidence, such as cutting edge DNA testing on old cases, or due to mistaken identifications, or even mistakes by the court, civilian witnesses, forensic experts, defense counsel, prosecutors or the police, all such claims require careful review. 

Claims of innocence and wrongful conviction are reviewed by the Chief Legal Counsel for Ethics, Integrity and Policy, assisted by other prosecutors and investigators.  Such reviews are undertaken as cooperative efforts with defendants and defense counsel, in a spirit of reciprocity in the pursuit of justice.

Claims of innocence and wrongful conviction can be submitted at this link for further review:  PlymouthDA.ConvictionIntegrity@State.Ma.Us

Plymouth County District Attorney’s Office Brady Disclosure Policy

Recent News

William Allen’s case for commutationopens in a new window

Commonwealth Magazine
September 19, 2021

Remarks Paraphrased From the Testimony of Plymouth County District Attorney Timothy J. Cruz in the Matter of William Allen’s Petition for Commutationopens in a new window

June 15, 2021

Findings of Plymouth County District Attorney Timothy J. Cruz Regarding Officer Involved Shooting on December 28, 2020 in Brockton, Massachusettsopens in a new window

May 27, 2021

Massachusetts Conviction Integrity Working Group Guide March 2021

Massachusetts Conviction Integrity Working Group

“I just finished reading the report from the MCIWG. This is a tremendously important addition to and advancement of the literature available for conviction review units wanting to follow the best and most ethical guidelines. The work that you all took on and the diligence with which you carried out the task is clear in the well-researched recommendations. As the Quattrone Center continues to work to support the development of conviction review units responsive to the needs of their communities and justice, this will be an invaluable resource. Please express our gratitude and deep appreciation to all of the Working Group members.”  Marissa Bluestein, Quattrone Center.

March 2021

Findings of Plymouth County District Attorney Timothy J. Cruz Regarding Officer Involved Fatal Shooting on February 16, 2020 in Byfield Massachusetts

January 14, 2021

District Attorney Cruz Agrees to Move to Vacate Frances Choy’s Conviction and Enters a Nolle Prosequi to End Any Further Prosecution.