Public Integrity

Public Integrity

Recent surveys show a steady decline in Americans’ confidence in public institutions. This declining confidence affects not just our political system, but also the criminal justice system. The Attorney General’s Office has worked to reverse this trend, both by rooting out the corruption and misconduct that breeds distrust in government and by promoting systemic reforms designed to strengthen confidence in New Jersey’s system of justice.

  • Prioritizing public accountability. In September 2018, the Attorney General announced the creation of a new unit to combat corruption and strengthen confidence in government institutions. To lead the effort, the Attorney General recruited Thomas Eicher, a longtime federal prosecutor who has led complex corruption investigations and obtained convictions against numerous public officials, including multiple Members of Congress. The new unit – the Office of Public Integrity & Accountability (OPIA) – includes both detectives and prosecutors and reports directly to the Attorney General.
  • Reviewing old convictions and unsolved crimes. In Spring 2019, the Attorney General’s Office launched two statewide initiatives to promote public safety and strengthen the public’s confidence in the criminal justice system: a statewide Conviction Review Unit (CRU) and a statewide Cold Case Network (CCN). The CRU reviews claims of actual innocence, investigates those deemed meritorious, and presents its findings to the Attorney General for decision. The CCN involves a statewide network of regional cold case task forces, which pool personnel, expertise, technology, and resources to use new technology to solve old crimes. Together, these initiatives reflect a simple premise: that those who are innocent should not remain in prison, and those who are guilty should not remain on the streets.
  • Improving data collection on police use of force. In November 2018, a Star-Ledger investigation revealed gaps in how New Jersey collects, monitors, and publishes data about the use of force by law enforcement officers. The following month, the Attorney General partnered with the leaders of the state’s police unions and major law enforcement organizations to announce a joint effort to overhaul the state’s collection of use-of-force data, with a goal of creating a new, publicly accessible database to track such information statewide.

Additional Resources

Office of Public Integrity & Accountability

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