Freeing the innocent and preventing wrongful convictions worldwide

 

The Innocence Network is an affiliation of organizations dedicated to providing pro bono legal and investigative services to individuals seeking to prove innocence of crimes for which they have been convicted, working to redress the causes of wrongful convictions, and supporting the exonerated after they are freed.

Click the map below for information on Innocence Network member organizations around the world.

    The Innocence Network


    69 organizations from around the world working to exonerate unjustly convicted men and women, including independent nonprofits as well as organizations affiliated with law schools or other educational institutions, units of public defender offices, and pro bono sections of law firms.

    Member list and info

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    The Innocence Network

    More info about the Innocence Network, including mission, history, and jobs

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    Amicus Brief Bank

    Read amicus briefs filed by the Innocence Network in cases around the country

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    Join the Network

    Criteria and process for joining the Innocence Network, including eligibility and obligations

    News


    Recent news articles and media mentions from around the Innocence Network


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    Check out tweets and posts from this year’s Wrongful Conviction Day, where Innocence Network members organized to raise awareness of the causes and remedies of wrongful conviction,  and recognize the tremendous personal, social, and emotional costs of wrongful conviction for innocent people and their families.


    The Exoneration Initiative Client John Dwayne Bunn’s Conviction Overturned

    The Exoneration Initiative

    More than two decades after John Dwayne Bunn was found guilty of murdering an off-duty New York City correction officer in Brooklyn, a judge on Tuesday threw out his conviction, citing a history of wrongdoing by a former detective who worked on the case.

    In her decision, Justice ShawnDya L. Simpson of State Supreme Court in Brooklyn ordered a new trial for Mr. Bunn, saying that “malfeasance” by the former detective, Louis Scarcella, had undermined the evidence that led to Mr. Bunn’s conviction and eventual term in prison. Read more.

    Montana Innocence Project Client Richard Earl Burkhart’s Conviction Vacated

    Montana Innocence Project

    District Court Judge John Kutzman last week vacated the homicide conviction of Richard Earl Burkhart and ordered a new trial. In September 2002, Burkhart was convicted of deliberate homicide for the November 2001 death in Great Falls of William Ledeau, and sentenced to 100 years in the Montana State Prison.

    In 2015 the Montana Innocence Project discovered evidence of Burkhart’s innocence, including the fact that the confession of another suspect in the crime had not been disclosed to the defense attorneys. The Montana Innocence Project moved to vacate the conviction, and Judge Kutzman agreed. Read more.

    Illinois Innocence Project Client Charles Palmer Exonerated

    Illinois Innocence Project

    A Decatur man who spent 18 years in prison for murder was released Wednesday after DNA evidence got him a new trial and prosecutors declined to try him again. Charles Palmer, 62, was convicted in the 1998 killing of William Helmbacher, who was found dead in his Decatur apartment and investigators said had been beaten with a hammer. But fingernail scrapings and hair on Helmbacher’s hand did not match Palmer’s DNA, according to the Illinois Innocence Project.

    Jurors convicted Palmer of first-degree murder in 2000. Last week, after considering the new DNA evidence, a Macon County judge overturned Palmer’s conviction and ordered a new trial. But the Macon County state’s attorney said Wednesday they would not prosecute Palmer again. The investigation into Helmbacher’s death has been reopened, said John Hanlon, executive director of the Illinois Innocence Project, which represented Palmer. Read more.

    Innocence Project of Texas Clients, known as the San Antonio Four, Exonerated

    Innocence Project of Texas

    Texas’ highest court has exonerated the four San Antonio women who were in prison for almost 15 years for being convicted of sexually assaulting four girls. The “San Antonio 4” — Elizabeth Ramirez, Kristie Mayhugh, Cassandra Rivera and Anna Vasquez — were found innocent Wednesday in a ruling.

    The four women, all out lesbians at the time, were convicted in 1998. Ramirez received a 37-year prison sentence, and Mayhugh, Vasquez and Rivera had 15-year sentences. Vasquez was paroled in 2012, and the rest were released in 2013. Two of Ramirez’s nieces, ages 7 and 9, accused them of sexually assaulting and threatening to kill them in 1994. One niece later recanted, saying another family member coached her to make the allegations. Also, the evidence of sexual abuse used at the time is no longer accepted in courts. Read more.

    Georgia IP Client Joey Watkins’ Case Featured on Undisclosed Podcast

    Georgia Innocence Project

    For Clare Gilbert, Interim Director of the Decatur-based nonprofit Georgia Innocence Project, being a part of a podcast with more than one million downloads each week isn’t about entertainment – it’s about justice.

    “As a lawyer, it’s scary to think about opening your client up to the media and public scrutiny,” said Gilbert. “But we knew it was the only way Joey Watkins could get back in to court and we could find compelling new evidence.”

    Watkins was sentenced to life in prison in July 2001 for aggravated assault, a weapons violation, misdemeanor stalking, and the felony murder of Isaac Dawkins in Rome, Georgia in January 2000. However, Gilbert and the team of attorneys behind the “Undisclosed” podcast believe Watkins was wrongfully convicted. Read more.