In April, 2019, the New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal created one of the first statewide conviction review units in the nation to be based in an Attorney General’s Office. The unit, which is headed by former Family Court Judge, and former state and federal prosecutor Carolyn Murray, reviews claims of actual innocence by persons convicted of felonies in New Jersey state courts to evaluate whether there is clear and convincing evidence of actual innocence.
The process begins with the convicted individual completing a “Request for Review” form available for download below. The prosecution must have occurred in the New Jersey Superior Court, Criminal Division. The conviction must be for a felony. Individuals who are in custody, serving time on the sentence for which they were wrongfully convicted, will have priority over individuals who have been released from custody. The application for review must be based on objectively credible and verifiable evidence of innocence. Cases are screened to determine which are appropriate for a full re-investigation. Individuals seeking a review must cooperate fully with the CRU.
The CRU is partially funded with a U.S. Department of Justice grant. Any exonerations that may result from these reviews are likely to generate cold cases. Any cold case resulting from an exoneration will be investigated by a joint task force with a fresh perspective as opposed to being returned to the original investigating agency.