ST. LOUIS COUNTY, MO: In accordance with his commitments to transparency, accountability and maintaining the public trust in the office of the prosecuting attorney, Wesley Bell announced today the creation of a Conviction and Incident Review Unit (CIRU). The CIRU will:

  • Stand as its own unit, independent from the rest of the office;

  • Answer solely to Wesley Bell;

  • Employ a director pursuant to a national search for the most qualified individual;

  • Review cases involving substantiated claims of wrongful prosecution/conviction;

  • Review all matters relating to police officer-involved shootings and alleged police

    misconduct; and

  • Further the commitment to justice, ethics, integrity, and protection of the innocent.

In the past 30 years, this country has exonerated 2,446 people wrongfully convicted. Missouri accounts for 50 of those exonerations. However, these individuals spent a combined total of 523 years incarcerated for crimes they did not commit. With the creation of the CIRU, the St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office joins more than 30 similarly situated counterparts nationwide in using data-driven methods to establish best practices that vigorously uphold prosecutorial ethics.

“The obligation of every prosecutor is to pursue justice, an obligation that cannot be met if the public lacks confidence in the integrity of criminal convictions,” said prosecutor Bell. “From the data we know wrongful convictions happen all over the country, which is why it’s imperative to critically review cases where credible challenges are raised. To that end, this office will employ every measure available not only to prosecute crimes and assist victims, but also to correct injustice by safeguarding the integrity of all convictions.”

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