WTI Letter to San Francisco Board of Supervisors


On July 18, Witness to Innocence submitted a letter to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors supporting a resolution which urges the interim District Attorney to keep the Innocence Commission intact and to allow the San Francisco DA's Post Conviction Unit to continue its related wrongful conviction and resentencing work. Later that week, the Board of Supervisors unanimously passed the resolution.


The WTI letter, which was authored by WTI Accuracy & Justice Program Manager Stefanie Anderson, notes that "Estimates on the number of innocent people in prison range from 2-10% of the prison population. The most recent CDCR TPOP4 weekly report, dated 7/13/22, documents 97,009 people in custody. If just 1% of the current population of the CDCR are innocent, that means California is currently incarcerating nearly 1000 innocent people."



Read Full Letter Below

July 18, 2022

San Francisco Board of Supervisors 1 Dr. Carlton B. Goodlett Place, City Hall, Room 244 San Francisco, CA 94102-4689


RE: File No. 220830 (Preston & Ronen) SUPPORT



Dear San Francisco Board of Supervisors:

On behalf of the Members of Witness to Innocence, I am writing to express our strong support of Resolution File No. 220830 in support of the San Francisco District Attorney’s Innocence Commission. This resolution urges the interim District Attorney to keep the Innocence Commission intact and to allow the SFDA’s Post Conviction Unit to continue its related wrongful conviction and resentencing work.


Wrongful convictions are a significant problem in the United States—and California is no exception. Since the National Registry of Exonerations began tracking wrongful convictions in 1989, there have been nearly 300 known wrongful convictions in California – causing innocent Californians to lose years of their lives. Wrongful convictions undermine our criminal legal system and violate fundamental principles of justice and due process.

Estimates on the number of innocent people in prison range from 2-10% of the prison population. The most recent CDCR TPOP4 weekly report, dated 7/13/22, documents 97,009 people in custody. If just 1% of the current population of the CDCR are innocent, that means California is currently incarcerating nearly 1000 innocent people.


Wrongful convictions deny justice to victims and decrease public safety by allowing actual perpetrators of crime the freedom to continue to cause harm to the public.



Witness to Innocence is the only national organization in the United States composed of and led by people exonerated from death row. Since 1973, 189 people who had been wrongly convicted and sentenced to death in the U.S. have been exonerated - 7 of those in California. We know there are innocent people behind bars, because our members were once there themselves. Executive Director Kirk Bloodsworth was the first person exonerated from death row based on DNA evidence. In 1985, he was convicted of murdering 9-year old Dawn Hamilton in Maryland. At the time of Kirk's exoneration in 1993, the true perpetrator was incarcerated for an attempted rape and murder that happened just a few weeks after Kirk was arrested.


We urge you to support Resolution File No. 220830 in support of the San Francisco District Attorney’s Innocence Commission. If you have any questions about our position on this bill, please contact Stefanie Anderson.


Sincerely,

Stefanie Anderson Accuracy & Justice Program Manager Witness to Innocence sanderson@witnesstoinnocence.org

cc: Angela Calvillo, Alisa Somera, San Francisco Board of Supervisors