FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: June 22, 2017
Contact: Evan Thies (917) 715-9265 and firstname.lastname@example.org
Dwimoh’s “Integrity Agenda” reforms will prevent wrongful convictions, address misconduct by criminal justice professionals
Dwimoh plans standing commission to review prosecutor misconduct; will appoint special prosecutor when potential criminal behavior by a prosecutor leads to wrongful conviction
(Brooklyn, NY) – Ama Dwimoh – former chief of the Crimes Against Children Bureau in the Kings County District Attorney’s Office and candidate in the race for the open Brooklyn District Attorney’s seat – joined wrongfully convicted Brooklynites and advocates for justice today outside Brooklyn’s Supreme Court building to call for reform at the Brooklyn DA’s office.
Dwimoh’s plan, titled “Justice Matters”, is in response to revelations that mistakes and misconduct by criminal justice professionals resulted in the wrongful convictions of numerous defendants in Brooklyn – and potentially many more – many of whom spent more than a decade in prison before they were exonerated.
The plan includes steps to deliver justice for the wrongfully convicted as well as to prevent future wrongful convictions, in order to restore the integrity of the DA’s office and earn back the trust of Brooklynites.
“It has been several years since Brooklyn discovered that its DA’s office sent numerous innocent men to prison—many for more than a decade,” Dwimoh said. “Yet very little has changed at the DA’s office to ensure that these tragic miscarriages of justice will not happen again. Strict protocols, mandated trainings and systems of accountability must be put in place immediately to protect Brooklynites from wrongful prosecution and imprisonment, and to restore the trust the DA’s office has lost from the people it serves.”
Wrongfully convicted Brooklynites and advocates for justice and prosecutorial reform praised Dwimoh’s Justice Matters agenda.
“Ms. Dwiwoh’s integrity agenda is groundbreaking,” said Jabbar Collins, who was wrongfully prosecuted by the Brooklyn District Attorney’s office in the early 1990s and spent 15 years in prison for a crime he did not commit. “She is the first candidate to propose a meaningful solution to the epidemic of wrongful convictions that has plagued Brooklyn. Establishing a commission that will discipline prosecutors who cross the line when handling a criminal case will go a long way in stopping the ‘win at any cost’ approach and wrongful convictions that were prevalent under the Hynes’ administration.”
“Ama Dwimoh’s Integrity Agenda is exactly what’s needed to prevent future wrongful convictions, to hold members of the criminal justice community accountable for bad behavior, and to create a higher standard of justice in Brooklyn,” said Shabaka Shakur, who was released from prison after 27 years when the indictment against him was dismissed in 2015. “The DA’s office should immediately enact Ama’s reforms and other candidates should commit to the same serious plan for addressing these unresolved issues, which shamefully led to the wrongful conviction of so many men.”
Dwimoh’s “Justice Matters” plan includes:
- Steps to deliver justice for the wrongfully convicted by (1) appointing a special prosecutor to investigate and prosecute serious cases of potentially criminal misconduct by a prosecutor that led to an overturned conviction; (2) creating an independent Commission on Prosecutorial Misconduct to review potential cases of egregious misconduct by prosecutors for potential punishments; and, (3) in extreme cases of potential criminal misconduct by other members of the criminal justice system, appoint a special prosecutor to investigate.
- Protocols to prevent future wrongful convictions by (1) implementing oversight systems including formal checklists for each case so that the rules of evidence as outlined by the American Bar Association; (2) developing and implementing general education programs for staff on best practices to avoid prosecutorial error, approved by New York’s Justice Task Force; and (3) designating Integrity Officers, who will be empowered to review and audit current cases at their discretion and when directed by the DA.
- Procedures so the innocent have every chance to make their case by (1) significantly expanding the Conviction Review Unit; (2) broadening the scope of an accountability board of independent justice experts to analyze the Unit’s work; and (3) directing her office to create a standardized application for inmates prosecuted by the office who believe they have evidence proving their innocence.
About Ama Dwimoh
Dwimoh served as an assistant district attorney and bureau chief in the Brooklyn District Attorney’s office for more than two decades. Her campaign has received support from a growing group of prominent supporters, including Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams and civil rights leader Hazel Dukes.
Dwimoh served for 21 years in the Kings County District Attorney’s Office, where she began her career as a trial attorney in the Special Victims Bureau. She was promoted to senior trial attorney in the Homicide Bureau, and then promoted to serve as Executive Assistant District Attorney and Chief of the Crimes Against Children Bureau.
In 1997, Dwimoh created the Crimes Against Children Bureau to address the unique needs of child victims of sexual and physical abuse and homicides in Brooklyn. As chief of the Bureau, she was the lead prosecutor overseeing the successful conviction of the murderers of seven-year-old Nixzmary Brown.
Dwimoh received her bachelor’s degree from Barnard College at Columbia University in New York City, and her law degree from Georgetown University Law School, in Washington, D.C.