Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2021, $551,737)
True public safety comes from restorative and transformative justice. The duty of the prosecutor is to seek justice for victims of crime and to ensure that its done in an equitable way that safeguards and respects the constitutional rights of all parties involved, including the defendant. In an effort to continue the duty of safeguarding those constitutional rights, the Franklin County Prosecuting Attorney seeks to create a conviction integrity unit to review credible claims of innocence or new evidence.
The Franklin County Prosecuting Attorney, located in Columbus, Ohio, provides advice and legal services to county residents and governmental agencies on criminal, civil, and administrative matters occurring within the county limits. The conviction integrity unit, a separate unit within the criminal division of the prosecutor’s office, will conduct postconviction review and investigation of felony convictions that occurred in the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas following a credible claim of innocence or new evidence in effort to identify, prevent, and remedy wrongful convictions. As Ohio’s largest county and court system, this award is essential to assist the office in creating the conviction integrity unit and conduct postconviction DNA analysis following receipt of a claim of innocence based on DNA. As it currently stands, the office does not have the sufficient budgetary appropriation - financial means - to pursue such claims. The award identified in this solicitation is vital to our aforementioned prosecutorial duty owed to the victims and defendants in Franklin County.
An award under this solicitation would transform the criminal justice system in our community as the conviction integrity unit would be the first of its kind in the county. Creating the conviction integrity unit and focusing on DNA postconviction testing provides defendants with access to a procedure to ensure their conviction was just, access that they did not previously have. Overturning a wrongful conviction and finding the true offender provides victims with a sense of safety, protects the public from a violent offender, and repairs community trust in law enforcement – affirming that they strive to operate in fairness and integrity.
This solicitation response highlights our innovation, need, and ability to achieve the stated goals, objectives, and deliverables.