Critical Case Review Unit (CCRU)

The Critical Case Review Unit (CCRU) of the Office of the District Attorney is responsible for critically reviewing cases from the initial charging through conviction and beyond to ensure that the conviction is supported by the evidence, legal reasoning, and no instances of misconduct have occurred.

The CCRU is responsible for responding to petitions filed under the Post Conviction Relief Act (PCRA) in state court, the Anti-terrorism Effective Death Penalty Act (AEDPA) in federal court, and reviewing the case to confirm the integrity of the conviction for the defendant and the victim.

​The CCRU is comprised of five (5) assistant district attorneys and one (1) deputy, who each manage over one hundred cases at different stages in the system. Each case is initially reviewed by the deputy district attorney. Cases are individually assigned. If necessary, the assigned attorney will ask for counsel to be appointed.

Elderly woman and caretaker

The CCRU addresses a variety of claims including but limited to: ineffective assistance of counsel, trial court error, time credit, and after discovered evidence. If a claim of after discovered evidence is raised that claim will be examined by the assigned attorney and if necessary various police agencies that investigated the case. The CCRU has worked with the City of Pittsburgh Homicide Division, the Allegheny County Police, and the District Attorney’s Office’s Detectives. A detective may be called upon to interview witnesses and review evidence.

If a meritorious claim is presented, the CCRU will concede relief. The CCRU is committed to maintaining the integrity of its convictions and ensure that justice has been served.