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SACRAMENTO � The state commission charged with identifying flaws in the criminal justice system added four law enforcement officials to its roster Thursday, hoping to silence criticism that the group included too many death penalty opponents. New members of the California Commission on the Fair Administration of Justice include Los Angeles Police Chief William Bratton, former Sacramento County Sheriff Glendon Craig, Santa Clara County District Attorney George Kennedy and Ventura County District Attorney Gregory Totten. The state Senate Rules Committee also appointed state Public Defender Michael Hersek to the now 19-member commission. “Today, I think, we have a pretty balanced commission,” said its chairman, former state Attorney General John Van de Kamp. “All these people, I think, are committed to the justice system in the best sense of the word.” The state Senate created the commission by resolution two years ago to study wrongful convictions and recommend changes to prevent them. Although the panel was never charged with scrutinizing the death penalty, opponents often cited its mission as laying the groundwork for a possible moratorium. The commission, which was given no state funding, largely languished for two years. Van de Kamp has reinvigorated the group, however, and two weeks ago chose former Santa Clara University Law School Dean Gerald Uelmen as the body’s executive director. Van de Kamp said he expects the commission on March 15 to issue its first tentative recommendations on ways to curb erroneous identifications. “The important thing here is we’re moving forward,” Van de Kamp said. Kennedy, a Republican, said he and other prosecutors had concerns about the commission’s makeup and mission. But the district attorney said he’s joining the group with an open mind and a desire for “finding truth instead of handicapping one side or the other.” “I’m hoping to bring the message that reforms � are cyclical and we have a long history of going too far in one direction or another with these cycles,” Kennedy said. The veteran prosecutor, whose office was recently put under the microscope by a San Jose Mercury News investigation of flawed convictions and other problems in Santa Clara County, said he did receive assurances that Van de Kamp “wants a good product and something that is credible.” The commission has received much of its funding to date from anti-death penalty foundations, but Van de Kamp said that won’t influence the work. “Frankly, to the best of my knowledge, they have not imposed any of their interests on the organization,” he said. “None of these people are going to be bought off by anyone.” Assemblyman Todd Spitzer, R-Orange, like other Republicans, has been critical of how the commission was formed. “The commission was created by Senate fiat without consulting the full Legislature or the governor,” he said. But the former prosecutor said he “absolutely welcomes” the commission’s work. And while he supports the group’s new, broader roster, Spitzer said the focus should be squarely on its findings. “The report is going to be read on its merit and not necessarily on who is in the membership,” he said. The commission will file a final report on its findings by the end of next year.

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