Convictions in New York could soon face more scrutiny under legislation given final approval this week by state lawmakers.

For supporters, it's another step toward creating a more equitable criminal justice system, especially for defendants of color. But opponents, including Republican lawmakers and law enforcement officials, say the measure raises too many potential questions for victims of crime. 

The pending bill, which will head to Gov. Kathy Hochul's desk, is meant to tackle wrongful convictions in the state and, in part, a top court ruling.

Lawmakers want to make it easier for people to vacate their convictions when new, non-DNA evidence is available. While innocent, they may face the barrier of having previously pleaded guilty over concerns they would face jail or prison time. 

"The statute deals very specifically with people who have been convicted wrongfully and can demonstrate that to a judge, to a court," said Sergio De La Pava, the legal director at the New York County Defender Services. "In other words, they have evidence that their conviction was wrongful."

Wrongful convictions can occur disproportionately among people of color, and supporters of the change argue there's little recourse for people who lose criminal cases but are innocent. 

"It's something that's important to communities of color, marginalized communities who have beared the effects of the Rockefeller drug laws and other initiatives that took away their rights," said Assemblymember Michaelle Solages. "It's really important that as a state we are realizing we're not always right and we're accountable to ourselves." 

The District Attorneys Association of New York had urged lawmakers in the Assembly this week to reject the proposal, pointing to the existing standard as sufficient. 

Republicans, including Assemblyman Mike Reilly, believe the measure goes too far. 

"Unfortunately this new bill if it's signed into law will create the appearance that a final conviction will never be final," Reilly said. "It can always be challenged."

And Assemblyman Angelo Morinello says that leaves too much uncertainty for crime victims. 

"I feel this is an unnecessary piece of legislation and we have to always consider the victim who will have to wait forever to determine if in fact justice was served," he said.