Conviction & Sentencing Integrity Unit

The Conviction and Sentencing Integrity Unit “CSIU” accepts petitions alleging actual innocence, procedural error, misconduct and erroneous sentencing from non-profit law firms, defendants, private attorneys and occasionally members of the public unaffiliated with parties.  Defendants who submit petitions are typically referred to non-profit innocence organizations so the claims being made can be investigated and clarified before being presented to the CSIU.

Preliminary Review:

  1. Is there a claim of factual innocence and/or other significant concerns about the integrity of the conviction?  For example:  concerns about the integrity of the investigation or evidence, nature of the evidence used to convict, the performance of defense counsel or the fairness of the process the defendant received.
  2. The case must have already concluded the appellate and Post-Conviction process before being considered by CSIU.  In very rare cases alleging actual innocence, CSIU will become involved in a first Petition for Post-Conviction Relief.
  3. Petitions must contain new information that has not been previously adjudicated during appeal or the Post-Conviction process.  The new information may consist of physical evidence that has not been analyzed, or where better scientific analysis is possible.  New information may also implicate the actions of the defendant’s trial attorneys, prosecutor, or law enforcement. Petitions need not yet have found or analyzed the new evidence, but there must be some indication that additional information may exist.
  4. Priority review will be given to cases where physical evidence dispositive of guilt or innocence exist.
  5. A case will NOT be barred from CSIU review due to the following circumstances:
    1. A defendant has pled guilty or made inculpatory statements;
    2. A defendant’s completion of the criminal sentence resulting from conviction;
    3. disciplinary history while incarcerated;
    4. prior or subsequent charges or convictions;
    5. The outcome of prior litigation or the availability of procedural objections.

If a petition meets the initial requirements, a full review of the case will be undertaken.

Full Review:

  1. Ideally, full review of a petition involves the CSIU working collaboratively with the defense team.  This will include signing a Cooperation Agreement. If, however, the defense team feels that collaboration is not appropriate, CSIU will continue with a full review.
  2. An initial meeting with defense team will often be held.  Defense team will present their concerns about the conviction whether it be actual innocence or other clear evidence of injustice.  Decisions will be made as to the best course of action going forward with the investigation.
  3. CSIU will gather case files, transcripts, and evidence as necessary to review the petition.
  4. If expert witness review of evaluation is needed the parties will attempt to jointly decide on an acceptable expert.
  5. Throughout the review process, CSIU will maintain open communication with the defense team.
  6. CSIU will have a final meeting with the defense team.  If CSIU has determined that it will not support the relief requested, the defense team will be alerted to the concerns and allowed to produce further input or evidence.
  7. The case is presented by CSIU to the Pima County Attorney for final decision.

Decisions reached on relief requested of the CSIU will not be directed by the trial attorneys and/or detectives involved in the original conviction.  However, the original prosecutors and detectives may be consulted to explain facts or investigation decisions that were made in the case.

            If the investigation by CSIU reveals unjust or illegal convictions or sentences, the special ethical rules of a prosecutor require the Pima County Attorney’s Office to attempt to undue the conviction or sentence.  For this reason, any potential financial impact to the County is never considered in making decisions concerning relief.

Application and Other Information:

Emails can be sent to Letters can be sent to the attention of Deputy County Attorney Brad Roach, Conviction Integrity Chief, Pima County Attorney’s Office, Legal Services Building, 32 N. Stone Avenue, Tucson, Arizona 85701.

To submit an application for CSIU review, click here, and submit the application to

Rights Restoration & Wrongful Conviction Resources:

Under Arizona law, in some cases, a person with a criminal conviction may apply to the Superior Court to have their rights restored, set aside a conviction, or obtain other relief. The Pima County Attorney’s Office (PCAO) may represent the State of Arizona in this process and cannot represent any individual. You can also contact the the agencies below for further assistance:

Pima County Public Defense Services Public Defense Legal Clinics

Information Line: (520) 724-2285

University of Arizona, Rogers College of Law Civil Rights Restoration Clinic

Prof. Andy Silverman, Clinic Director
(520) 621-1975

Additional Resources :

Forms for moving to designate a conviction a misdemeanor and restore civil rights of certain convictions are available on the Superior Court website, under “Criminal CourtIn addition, several organizations assist persons who believe they were wrongfully convicted or imprisoned for a crime in Pima County or elsewhere in Arizona. PCAO is not affiliated with, does not control, and is not responsible for any services these agencies may provide. This was prepared on May 13, 2021, and the laws, contact information, and other information may have changed since then. 
University of Arizona, Rogers College of Law Innocence Project University of Arizona Innocence Project
James E. Rogers College of Law 1145 N. Mountain Ave. Tucson, AZ 85719 General Information: Application:
Arizona Justice Project
111 E. Taylor St., Suite 365
Phoenix, AZ 85004

General Information:


Department Contact Info:

Brad Roach, Senior Counsel

If you are a reporter looking to gather general information for a story, on deadline or for background, email or call Shawndrea Thomas, (520) 310-4720.