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Veteran public defender to run Clark County DA’s conviction integrity unit

The Clark County district attorney’s office has tapped a veteran public defender to run a new unit that will review claims of innocence.

Dan Silverstein, who earned a law degree from the University of San Diego in 2000, has worked with the Clark County public defender’s office nearly all of his career, save for a year as a clerk for now-retired District Judge Sally Loehrer.

Silverstein is slated to start as a chief deputy district attorney Oct. 24 and will make $141,176 a year, examining claims by defendants who say they are “actually innocent” of charges for which they were convicted.

Silverstein said he’s monitored similar units across the country, and “when they are done properly and legitimately, they are a great service to the community.” He called the new job an extension of his career “of trying to prevent wrongful convictions.”

County commissioners also have allotted $93,518 for an investigator’s position and $70,008 for a paralegal in the new unit.

District Attorney Steve Wolfson said he probably will hire an investigator from within his office, though the paralegal hire has not been decided.

Wolfson said it could take about two or three months before the team establishes procedures for cases to review, but he added, “I don’t want to turn away something that is worth considering during that interim period.”

Conviction review units, also referred to as conviction integrity units, exist in most major cities across the country. Their primary goal is to review factual claims of innocence, oftentimes when new evidence is brought to the attention of prosecutors.

The Clark County district attorney’s conviction review unit is the first of its kind in Nevada.

Contact David Ferrara at dferrara@reviewjournal.com or 702-380-1039. Follow @randompoker on Twitter.

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