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Pennsylvania adds muscle to reviewing convictions for errors

February 12, 2020 News Extra

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HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — Pennsylvania's top law enforcement office is starting a conviction integrity unit to review past convictions for mistakes that might result in them being overturned, officials said Wednesday.

Lisa Lazzari-Strasiser, the former chief public defender in Cambria County and former Somerset County District Attorney, will lead the unit in Attorney General Josh Shapiro's office.

The unit is designed to provide county district attorneys with the resources to analyze past convictions, Shapiro's office said. Only a handful of county district attorneys have a unit devoted to reviewing convictions.

Butler County District Attorney Richard Goldinger welcomed the news, but said his office, which prosecutes cases in the county, is already vigilant about not prosecuting innocent people. Since the county is smaller than neighboring Allegheny, Goldinger said his office doesn't need a devoted team to reviewing cases.

Eric Jankiewicz contributed to this story.

This is an excerpt from a larger article that will appear in Thursday's Butler Eagle. Subscribe online or in print to read the full article.

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