MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison and metro prosecutors announced the launch of a new unit on Tuesday that would review potentially wrongful convictions through a partnership with the Minnesota Innocence Project.
The partnership, funded by a two-year, $300,000 grant from the Justice Department, will be the first of its kind in the state to review the cases of people imprisoned for crimes they may not have committed.
The new unit will also attempt to determine frequent causes of wrongful convictions to prevent such cases and potentially identify who actually committed the crime in some cases.
Ellison’s office said such units have helped clear more than 400 people in the U.S. who were wrongfully convicted and imprisoned. Dozens of other units exist nationwide, though Minnesota will be the fourth state whose unit functions through the attorney general’s office.
Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman and Ramsey County Attorney John Choi, prosecutors for the state’s two largest counties, will work with the new unit on cases in their districts.