US

Lawyers Death row inmate's release shows need for conviction review

FILE - In this April 3, 2015 file photo, Pat Turner, left, hugs Anthony Ray Hinton as he leaves the Jefferson County jail in Birmingham, Ala. Hinton spent nearly 30 years on Alabama's death row, and was set free after prosecutors told a judge they won't re-try him for the 1985 slayings of two fast-food managers. Defense attorneys said the release of Hinton, after nearly 30 years on Alabama’s death row is an argument for the establishment of a conviction integrity unit to investigate claims of innocence.  (AP Photo/Hal Yeager)

FILE - In this April 3, 2015 file photo, Pat Turner, left, hugs Anthony Ray Hinton as he leaves the Jefferson County jail in Birmingham, Ala. Hinton spent nearly 30 years on Alabama's death row, and was set free after prosecutors told a judge they won't re-try him for the 1985 slayings of two fast-food managers. Defense attorneys said the release of Hinton, after nearly 30 years on Alabama’s death row is an argument for the establishment of a conviction integrity unit to investigate claims of innocence. (AP Photo/Hal Yeager)  (The Associated Press)

Defense attorneys said the release of a man after nearly 30 years on Alabama's death row is an argument for establishing a conviction integrity unit to investigate claims of innocence.

The units, which operate in some areas of the country, review claims of innocence separate from the court system. North Carolina in 2006 established a commission to investigate claims based on new evidence. Prosecutors' offices in a handful of large cities, including New York, have created their own integrity units.

Former U.S. Attorney Doug Jones says the units can look at cases objectively — away from the emotion of the trial.

Ray Hinton was freed earlier this month after spending 28 years on Alabama's death row. New ballistics tests directly contradicted the evidence used to convict him in 1980s.