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 or search the map below for information on Innocence Network member organizations around the world.
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.
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Recent news articles and media mentions from around the Innocence Network
The Ohio Innocence Project is asking the supreme court to determine if police departments can refuse to release investigation files until all possibility of an appeal has passed, which would be with an acquittal, release from prison, or death of a suspect. “We had a series of rejections from the Columbus police,” said Donald Caster, an attorney with the Ohio Innocence Project.
The Ohio Innocence Project was founded at the University of Cincinnati College of Law in 2003 by then-city councilman John Cranley and Mark Godsey, who remains the project’s director. Read more.
Missoula County Attorney Kirsten Pabst announced Tuesday that she filed a motion to dismiss the case against Cody Marble, who was sent to prison for raping a 13-year-old boy while they were in custody at the Missoula County jail in 2002. In August, the Montana Supreme Court sent the case back to Missoula County District Court to re-examine Judge Douglas Harkin’s decision to deny Marble a new trial.
“It’s never too late to do the right thing,” Pabst said during a news conference Tuesday. She said since Marble’s conviction, at least three of the witnesses including his victim had recanted their statements. In multiple interviews with law enforcement and jail staff, Pabst said the officers believed Marble had been set up by other inmates and “railroaded.” Read more.
A packet of evidence long thought to have been lost or destroyed could breathe new life into the case of a South Dakota inmate trying to prove his innocence. McCook County Sheriff Mark Norris said he was cleaning an evidence locker when he found an envelope related to Stacy Larson’s second-degree murder case.
“I was dumbfounded,” Norris said, explaining that he discovered the envelope while digging through a box for an unrelated case. Larson was convicted of a 1990 shooting death on Interstate 90 near Montrose. He’s spent the past 25 years serving life in prison without parole at the state penitentiary. Read more.
The Innocence Network conference kicked off Friday morning at the Hyatt Regency on the River Walk. The conference hosts criminal defense experts from across the U.S. and features more than 40 workshops for attorneys, innocence organization administrators and those who have been exonerated of crimes. One of the attendees, Barry Scheck, was a member of the defense team that help to acquit O.J. Simpson. Scheck is also the co-founder of the New York City-based Innocence Network.
“Over 58 organizations in the United States (are in attendance), and as many as maybe 10 internationally that specialize in getting people out of prisons who didn’t commit the crimes, and putting together reforms of the criminal justice system here in the United States and across the world to prevent wrongful convictions,” Scheck said. Read more.
Lorinda Swain of Burlington will finally get her day before the Michigan Supreme Court this Wednesday. She was convicted in 2002 of molesting an adopted boy and served seven years of a 25-to-50-year sentence before the boy recanted his story. Swain has been free on appeal since a Calhoun County judge ordered a new trial for her twice but both times the Michigan appellate court has ruled that her original conviction should stand.
Repeated appeals have finally landed the case before the State’s highest court. Justice Bridget McCormack has recused herself from the case. McCormack represented Swain as a lawyer at the University of Michigan’s Innocence Clinic before she joined the Michigan Supreme Court. The justices will hear the arguments Wednesday. A ruling on the Swain case may not come until summer. Read more.
Judge H. Lee Sarokin recently wrote an article entitled “The Guilty Have a Better Chance for Parole or Pardon Than the Innocent.” As an innocent prisoner, I’ve witnessed this myself for the last two decades (and counting). The only thing that has changed over time is that more and more corruption is being exposed. The internet and social media are bringing our stories to light at an alarming rate.
It takes a lot for a judge to speak out on behalf of the wrongfully convicted. Innocent prisoners, as a whole, commend these judges for their bravery and good faith. You might think that honesty is a requirement for being a government official — but that’s not always the case. Honesty is often suppressed, the truth gets covered up, and the victims are the innocent and our families. For each of the last two years,records were set in the number of exonerations nationwide: 127 in 2014 and 149 in 2015. People are starting to wonder whether our judicial system ever be fixed. Read more.