SF District Attorney

Policy

The Innocence Commission

Prosecutors have a responsibility to prevent and correct wrongful convictions, which means continuously looking backwards and providing an opportunity for wrongful convictions to be corrected. In September of 2020, DA Boudin launched the Innocence Commission, which, in conjunction with the Post-Conviction Unit, is charged with reviewing potential wrongful conviction cases. The Innocence Commission is dedicated to protecting the integrity of our legal system by creating a process through which wrongful convictions can be identified and reversed.

The Innocence Commission reviews cases where an incarcerated person asserts that they were wrongfully convicted.  If the Commission, after evaluating all of the available evidence and conducting any necessary re-investigation, votes by a majority to vacate the conviction, the Commission will prepare a findings of fact and conclusions of law memorandum that will serve as the basis to seek to vacate the conviction.  Although the District Attorney retains the final decision-making power on each case, the District Attorney will afford great weight to the determination of the Commission.

The Innocence Commission consists of a six-member volunteer team of experts:

  • Professor Lara Bazelon, Director of University of San Francisco Law School’s Racial Justice Clinic
  • Judge LaDoris Cordell (Ret.)
  • Dr. George Woods, renowned medical expert
  • Linda Starr, Executive Director of the Northern California Innocence Project
  • Arcelia Hurtado, San Francisco District Attorney Managing Attorney
  • Jacque Wilson, San Francisco Deputy Public Defender

The Innocence Commission is assisted by a full-time, grant-funded staff attorney who works under the supervision of the University of San Francisco Law School’s Racial Justice Clinic.

For more information on the launch of the Innocence Commission, see the press release announcement.