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Brooklyn District Attorney Kenneth Thompson has only been on the job since January 2014, but in just over a year he has gained a national reputation for his aggressive review of wrongful conviction cases. As soon as he took office, Thompson began overhauling the conviction review unit and establishing case review procedures. His Conviction Review Unit has been carefully reexamining 70 cases involving now-retired New York City police detective Louis Scarcella, who has been accused of fabricating confessions and manipulating witnesses, as well as using other questionable tactics. Now, Thompson has announced that his unit will expand its review of potentially wrongful conviction cases to include non-homicide felony cases.

Thompson is concerned that wrongful convictions are eroding the public’s confidence in the justice system. He acknowledges that each overturned conviction could lead to a costly lawsuit, but he is committed to setting things right. “These actions not only foster public trust in the criminal justice system but also begin the process of righting an injustice committed against these defendants,” Thompson said.

The process won’t be easy. Witnesses can be hard to track down. Many of the court records are decades-old, and difficult to locate. And for cases with no DNA evidence, lab work isn’t a possibility. But with 10 prosecutors and 3 investigators on his team, as well as additional staff members, Thompson and his team are committed to carefully reviewing as many cases as possible.

“For the most part, if there’s a claim of wrongful conviction and it occurred in Brooklyn, we’re going to look at it,” Thompson said.

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