Examining Washtenaw County's new conviction integrity and expungement unit

Posted at 6:22 PM, Nov 04, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-04 19:22:21-04

(WXYZ) — In tonight's 7 UpFront segment we're talking with Washtenaw County Prosecutor Eli Savit who has announced a conviction integrity and expungement unit.

It comes are 20 people in Michigan were exonerated this year, the second-highest number in the country.

You can see the full interview in the video player above.

"Fundamentally, I think that convicting somebody and sending them to prison for a crime they did not commit is not just the worst mistake a prosecutor can make, not just the worst mistake the judicial system can make, but it is the worst mistake the government can make," Savit says. "I mean, we have the authority as prosecutors and as the judicial system to deprive somebody of their freedom. That is an awesome power and it needs to be exercised, but we've gotta make sure that we're getting it right and we have the ability in our office to go back and investigate claims of actual innocence and to, sort of, short circuit the process that private attorneys may have to take in order to get somebody exonerated and get them freed. And so, I believe, it's incumbent on all prosecutors in a county of any size to have this unit to make sure that we're getting it right and to make sure that if we do get it wrong that we're rectifying those past mistakes and not allowing somebody to sit in prison one day longer for a crime that they did not commit."