Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor today issued guidelines for the convening of a new Ohio Supreme Court Task Force on wrongful convictions that would “analyze current practices and recommend improvements to further our standards of justice.”
To be known as the Task Force on Conviction Integrity and Postconviction Review, the panel will be comprised of a diverse group of members, each of whom “shall have experience or an interest in the integrity of convictions and post-conviction reviews.”
“We know from exoneration data that justice isn’t always served in our state and this task force would be a great first step in making improvements,” Chief Justice O’Connor said.
The members of the task force are expected to be announced within several weeks with the panel’s first meeting following shortly thereafter.
The task force’s duties will include:
- Analyzing the post-conviction review processes in Ohio and other states
- Analyzing the work of innocence commissions and conviction integrity units of other states
- Offering recommendations about DNA testing and “other advances in science”
- Recommending revisions to laws and Supreme Court rules
- Offering recommendations regarding education for judges, prosecutors and defense attorneys about conviction issues
- And offering “any other recommendations the task force deems appropriate to further public trust and confidence in the post-conviction review process.”
Public notice of all task force meetings will be posted on the Supreme Court’s website and will be open to the public.
Task force members will serve without compensation.
The task force will issue a report of its findings and recommendations to the Chief Justice and the justices of the Court by Dec. 31, 2020.