The Office of the Appellate Defender’s Reinvestigation Project was established in 2007 to identify potential cases of wrongful conviction and, where appropriate, file petitions for relief.
Because OAD recognizes the profound injustice in waiting years to address wrongful convictions, the Project immediately reviews all cases assigned to OAD by the New York State Supreme Court, Appellate Division, First Department for direct appeal.
The Project searches for such wrongful conviction red flags as questionable eyewitness identifications, possible false confessions, the use of informants, unreliable or improperly presented forensic science, police and/or prosecutorial misconduct and ineffective assistance of counsel.
In cases with evidence of a wrongful conviction, Project attorneys and investigators locate and interview witnesses, collect new evidence, consult with experts, and pursue all possible evidence of innocence.
The Project presents compelling cases of wrongful conviction to the Conviction Integrity Units of the Bronx and New York County District Attorney’s Offices, files motions to vacate convictions, and makes other litigation requests.
The Project handles both DNA and non-DNA cases. Multiple OAD clients have had their convictions vacated, including VanDyke Perry, who was exonerated in 2018 after being wrongfully convicted of kidnapping and rape, and Latisha Johnson, who, along with Malisha Blyden, was exonerated in 2014 after being wrongly convicted of attempted murder, burglary and robbery.