Minnesota AG launches unit to review wrongful convictions

Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison and metro prosecutors have announced the launch of a new unit to review potentially wrongful convictions through a partnership with the Minnesota Innocence Project.

The partnership is funded by a two-year, $300,000 grant from the Justice Department and will be the first of its kind in the state to review the cases of people imprisoned for crimes they may not have committed.

The Conviction Review Unit (CRU) will also attempt to determine frequent causes of wrongful convictions to prevent such cases and potentially identify who actually committed the crime in some cases.

"Prosecutors are ministers of justice. We have a duty to ensure those convicted of crimes are in fact guilty of those crimes," said Ellison. "We strive for perfection, but know our system is imperfect."

The purpose of a CRU is to identify, remedy and prevent wrongful convictions. Each case the CRU accepts for review will have a strong indication that the person imprisoned could be innocent of the crime of which they were convicted.

Ramsey County Attorney John Choi and Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman have vowed to work cooperatively with the CRU in cases that might arise from their respective counties.

Individuals may apply for review of their case by requesting an application from the attorney general’s office by emailing; calling 651-296-3353; and by mailing the Office of Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison, Attn.: Conviction Review Unit, 445 Minnesota Street, Suite 1400, St. Paul, MN 55101.

Watch the full press conference Tuesday above. The Associated Press contributed to this story.