By Leslie Acevedo
LOS ANGELES, CA – The U.S. Attorney’s office here has announced the creation of a new executive position to address ethics and post-conviction issues in conjunction with a new committee to review innocence claims brought by wrongfully convicted individuals in the Central District of California.
U.S. Attorney Martin Estrada said the Chief of Ethics and Post Conviction review will report directly to the U.S. Attorney, and “oversee the work of the office’s ethics and professional responsibility officers, coordinate the investigation of claims of prosecutorial misconduct, lead the office’s training and development program, and review the office’s responses to requests for pardons and commutations.”
The Chief of Ethics and Post-Conviction Review will moderate the committee, which includes the U.S. Attorney, the First Assistant U.S. Attorney, and the Executive Assistant U.S. Attorney, said Estrada, noting the process is modeled after other committees formed from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York and other U.S. prosecutorial agencies.
“Transparency in the criminal justice system is important. While wrongful convictions are rare, we will carefully review – and, when appropriate, fully investigate – any claim that the facts of a case do not support a conviction,” remaining committed to fair outcomes in every case prosecuted,” promised Estrada, adding the Conviction Integrity Committee will review the work of prosecutor and support policies or procedures to prevent wrongful convictions.
The position of Chief of Ethics and Post-Conviction Review will be held by Assistant U.S. Attorney Allison L. Westfahl Kong, who will also moderate the Conviction Integrity Committee, announced Estrada.
Kong has been an Assistant U.S. Attorney for 10 years, most recently serving as the Chief of Trials, Integrity, and Professionalism.
“Allison is an experienced prosecutor, a respected legal thinker, and a consummate professional. Her experience and judgment will ensure success in her new role,” said Estrada.