"The Duty of a Prosecutor is to Seek Justice, Not Mere Convictions"
- Illinois Rule of Professional Conduct 3.8
THE MISSION (haga clic aquí para obtener esta información en español)
It is incumbent upon the prosecutor's office to lead the charge to ensure the public has confidence in the criminal justice system. The Conviction Integrity Unit (CIU) is an initiative of the Kankakee County State's Attorney to ensure the integrity of a conviction, remedy a wrongful conviction, protect against innocence fraud and establish policies and procedures to strengthen the criminal justice system. The Unit was formed in September, 2020, in collaboration with the Kankakee County Board. In 2021, the Illinois Legislature passed HB3443, which allows a State's Attorney to file a petition to resentence a previously convicted offender when "the original sentence no longer advances the interests of justice." This process is a called a Petition to Resentence, and is appropriately under the umbrella of the State's Attorney's Conviction Integrity Unit.
The CIU considers two types of Claims: (1) claims of innocence; and (2) requests for review of resentencing. The process is very different and it is important to know the difference between the two when submitting a request for relief:
REQUEST FOR REVIEW OF RESENTENCING: The CIU receives requests for resentencing in accordance with its established guidelines. CLICK HERE for more information on how to submit a Request for Review of Resentencing.
CLAIMS OF INNOCENCE: The CIU consists of a Case Review Panel comprised of volunteers not employed by the Kankakee County State’s Attorney’s Office. The Case Review Panel was implemented as an effort to specifically address the issue of claims of innocence, i.e., wrongful convictions. No prosecutor wants to see a person wrongfully convicted. The attorneys strive to ensure justice for victims and their families, while at the same time protecting the rights of the defendants.
The Panel exists specifically for the review of a convicted offender's legitimate extrajudicial, post-conviction claims of innocence. On a larger scale, the CIU's overall goal is to seek to identify causes of wrongful convictions and establish protocols and training for the judiciary, prosecutors, public defenders and local practicing attorneys to make them aware of the pitfalls that cause wrongful convictions and avoid these issues in future cases. The CIU is led by a Director who oversees case progression, an Investigator and the Case Review Panel. In this capacity, the CIU Director reports directly to the State's Attorney.
The CIU will review every application; however, the CIU does not investigate every case where someone makes a bare claim of innocence. A claim must contain new relevant evidence that was not known at the time of trial, new or old relevant evidence that was untested, or some other evidence of innocence that a person was wrongly convicted. The general accepted criterion to be met includes:
The conviction must have originated from Kankakee County.
The offender must be a living person.
There must be a claim of actual innocence.
There must be new and credible evidence that was not offered at trial.
Requests and referrals for innocence reviews should be made in writing by either:
a family member;
the defendant's attorney; or
an organization on the defendant's behalf.
All initial requests received by the Kankakee County State's Attorney's Office shall be forwarded to the Conviction Integrity Unit (CIU). Should the CIU accept an application for further review, such acceptance does not indicate that any particular result will occur, nor does such acceptance signify a position of the Kankakee County State’s Attorney’s Office with respect to the validity of any conviction.
To obtain an Application for a Claim of Innocence CLICK HERE, or mail a request to:
Kankakee County State’s Attorney’s Office
Attn: Conviction Integrity Unit
189 East Court Street, 6th Floor
Kankakee, IL 60901
For further information please contact the CIU at K3SAOCIU@k3county.net.
How to contact the CIU:
Kankakee County State’s Attorneys’ Office
ATTN: Conviction Integrity Unit
189 E. Court Street, 6th Floor
Kankakee, IL 60901