From the StarExponent:
No agencies or commissions exist in Virginia to investigate prosecutorial misconduct and wrongful convictions, and University of Virginia Law Professor Brandon Garrett said that needs to change.
“What the public needs to know is how many more murder convictions have been a result of these errors,” said Garrett, who joined the faculty in 2005 and specializes in wrong convictions. “There needs to be some sort of audit or investigation done, but that’s very rare.”
Albemarle County Sheriff J.E. “Chip” Harding said Virginia needs two commissions: One that looks into police and prosecutorial procedures, and a second that investigates cases and convictions after the fact. He even has an idea for how to staff them.
“Some agencies may not think they have the resources,” Harding said. “I’ve been blessed with one of the largest Retired Volunteer Reserve Divisions in the state, and I know there would be a lot of retired guys willing to work pro-bono on these types of things.”
Harding singles out private investigator Stanley Lepakes — a retired FBI agent who donated countless hours investigating the Hash case, and that organizations such as the National Center of Missing and Exploited Children routinely employ retired law enforcement.
A self described champion of the Innocence Project, Harding has more than 30 years of experience in investigations, and he’s proud to be one of the first sheriffs in America featured on the organization’s website.
“The Innocence Project is about justice,” Harding said. “It’s not just some liberal thing like a lot of people make it out to be.”