About the Innocence Network

About Us

The Innocence Network is an affiliation of 69 organizations from all over the world dedicated to providing pro bono legal and investigative services to individuals seeking to prove innocence of crimes for which they have been convicted, and working to redress the causes of wrongful convictions. Currently, the Innocence Network consists of 56 U.S. based and 13 non-U.S. based organizations.

The majority of the Innocence Network’s members are based in the United States and are mainly focused on criminal justice reform in the United States, but the Network also includes non-U.S. organizations that meet its membership criteria. The Network maintains an International Committee, and we strongly encourage the development of sister networks across the world, such as Red Inocente, recognizing them as critically important partners in this work globally.

 


Network Statement on Exoneree Rights

As advocates for exonerees, we recognize the great need to make their transition easier by enhancing the availability of and access to the necessary assistance and resources. We are committed to that effort and believe exonerees should have the right to the following resources and services upon their release from prison, as needed or desired by the exoneree.

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Network Statement Concerning Victims

In seeking the exoneration of innocent individuals who have been convicted of crimes, the Network is acutely aware that our representation may understandably concern victims of those crimes, as well as family and friends of those victims. We recognize that our involvement in many cases may create pain or anguish. Although these consequences are unintended, the Innocence Network seeks to minimize them, while remaining devoted to its mission to exonerate innocent individuals and reform the system. In so doing, the Network believes that it shares several fundamental values with victims.

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History  

The advent of new DNA testing methods in the early 1990s gave rise to a number of organizations dedicated to proving claims of innocence that had been almost impossible to prove without DNA. As research on the causes of wrongful convictions, including eyewitness misidentification and false confessions, proliferated, claims of innocence based on non-DNA evidence were on the rise, as were the number of innocence organizations, largely housed in law schools in clinical programs. By 2000, there were 10 programs that met in Chicago for what would be the first Innocence Network Conference, now held annually each spring.

In 2004, the member organizations decided to define their association as a loosely affiliated network. A group of organization directors developed a planning committee to create membership criteria and a structure to guide the work of the members. The first 15 official members of the Network were admitted in November 2005, and a Network Executive Board was established.

Over the past eight years, the Network has more than quadrupled in size with members in the United States as well as Australia, Canada, Ireland, the UK, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Taiwan, Argentina, South Africa, Italy, and France. Its members include independent nonprofits as well as organizations affiliated in varying degrees with law schools or other educational institutions, units of public defender offices, and pro bono sections of law firms.

Job Openings at Network Organizations

DNA Project Attorney, Michigan State Appellate Defender Office

The Michigan State Appellate Defender Office (SADO) received a two-year grant from the Department of Justice’s Post Conviction DNA Testing Assistance Program to continue its DNA Project. SADO’s project began in 2012 focusing on evaluating, from a defense perspective, 11,000 untested sexual assault kits discovered in the Detroit Police Department’s (DPD) storage in 2009. Recently, additional untested DPD sexual assault kits have been discovered, as well as a few thousand more kits from counties throughout the state. With this continuation grant, the DNA Project Attorney will finish the DPD work and will work with individual prosecutors statewide to identify postconviction felony cases involving untested sexual assault evidence, obtain reliable testing, analyze results, and advocate for potentially innocent individuals. Specifically, the Project will determine whether any of the untested sexual assault kits could exonerate an actually innocent individual previously convicted of an offense without DNA analysis, or where the results of prior DNA analysis are called into question by new techniques. SADO is seeking an attorney to manage and implement the project from January 3, 2017 to September 30, 2019. Read... read more

Paralegal, Strategic Litigation Department, Innocence Project

ABOUT THE ORGANIZATION AND STRATEGIC LITIGATION DEPARTMENT: The Innocence Project is a not-for-profit organization that works to exonerate innocent prisoners through post-conviction DNA testing and develop and implement policy changes to prevent wrongful convictions and otherwise reform the criminal justice system. The Strategic Litigation Department’s goal is to reduce courts reliance on faulty and unreliable evidence. Focusing on the leading causes of wrongful convictions, the team litigates in the areas of forensic science, eyewitness identification, and unreliable confessions. JOB SUMMARY: The Paralegal provides support to Strategic Litigation (SL) attorneys at the Innocence Project and is a vital part of the Strategic Litigation team. The person that fills this role must be actively engaged in department happenings, eager to learn all facets of the department and is expected to assist with case research, development and management, time-sensitive litigation matters, and should be detail oriented enough to organize and maintain litigation resources to efficiently and effectively meet the needs of both the Strategic Litigation department’s cases and those of outside counsel who seek our assistance.  This position is ideal for someone with a strong interest in law and a desire to attend law school or pursue other postgraduate education in a related field.   The Paralegal reports to the Director of Strategic Litigation and works closely with the Department’s Staff Attorneys and the other paralegal. Read... read more

Forensic Science Review Attorney, Ohio Innocence Project

Under the supervision of an assistant professor of clinical law, the Forensic Science Review Attorney will review decades of case work of a retired forensic analyst.  Working from a list of cases, the attorney will review the methods and conclusions of the analyst in a diverse array of forensic disciplines. The selected candidate will gather public records and transcripts and review them to determine the significance of the analyst’s testimony in the case.  As appropriate, the attorney will consult with appropriate independent experts regarding the analyst’s methodologies and conclusions. Working with an assistant professor, the attorney will identify cases that are appropriate for litigation. In those cases, the attorney will work with the assistant professor and, in some instances, second-year law students, to draft post-conviction documents and litigate the cases to their conclusion. The attorney will keep detailed records of the status of the cases under review.  This person will also coordinate the Ohio Innocence Project’s efforts with various partners in this venture, the Office of the Ohio Public Defender. Read... read more

Deputy Director of Development, Innocence Project

The Innocence Project is a not-for-profit organization that works to exonerate innocent prisoners through post-conviction DNA testing and develop and implement policy changes to prevent wrongful convictions and reform the criminal justice system. We are seeking a seasoned, sophisticated and accomplished generalist Development professional to join us as Deputy Director of Development. This is a new position being created to help manage a growing and dynamic department and will have significant responsibility for overseeing the annual campaign, including stewardship of major and mid-level donors, working with other senior team members on the end of year appeal, and primary role in managing the annual benefit. In addition, the Deputy Director will provide the Director of Development with support in overall decision making related to the strategic direction of the department. Read... read more

Forensic Science Fellow, Pennsylvania Innocence Project

Pa IP Mission: The Pennsylvania Innocence Project is non-profit law firm dedicated to exonerating those who have been convicted of crimes they did not commit and preventing innocent people from being convicted. Position Overview: The Forensic Science Fellow is a new 2-year non-renewing position with the Project. The Fellow will be responsible for following developing issues in forensic sciences, coordinating Project efforts to locate and submit physical evidence for modern scientific testing, identifying cases where applied forensic science may have been unreliable, and developing protocols for the Project to quickly identify, screen, and litigate cases involving forensic science. Read... read more

Intake Analyst/Office Manager, Midwest Innocence Project

The Midwest Innocence Project (MIP) seeks an innovative, compassionate, and justice-orientedindividual to join our Kansas City team on the front lines of fighting and preventing wrongful convictions.The MIP is a 501(c)(3) non-profit legal defense organization dedicated to representing wrongfullyconvicted prison inmates in our five-state region (MO, KS, NE, IA, AR) who can prove their innocencethrough the use of DNA testing and other newly discovered evidence. The Intake Analyst/Office Managerwill play a vital role in the project, particularly in the areas of client communication and casemanagement. Responsibilities include: Answering phones and responding to calls and letters from clients, their families, potential newclients, and the public. Receiving and processing incoming and outgoing mail. Coordinating and supervising in-office and special event volunteers, including high schoolstudents, paralegals, and attorneys. Pre-screening intake forms and questionnaires for the MIP and our partner organizations Locating court and evidence records and creating and managing case files. Maintaining case databases, including case statuses and grant reporting information. Supporting the Executive and Development Directors and legal staff with calendaring, mailings,and in-office event preparation tasks. Tracking and ordering office supplies; maintaining office machines and service contracts. General bookkeeping, including reviewing invoices, drafting checks for signature, and accountreconciliation. Read... read more

Program Director / Policy Coordinator and System Liaison, Ohio Innocence Project

The Rosenthal Institute for Justice is looking for a Program Director/Policy Coordinator and System Liaison (PCSL) to interface with those working in all facets of the criminal justice system in Ohio–prosecutors, police officers, judges, criminal defense attorneys and legislators–to help them understand the causes of wrongful conviction and the need for system-wide reforms to reduce wrongful convictions and make the criminal justice system more accurate and fair.   This position requires a self-starter who can work with existing policy coordinators in the Innocence Network to build a curriculum and modules for education, and who can network statewide to build relationships with all listed stakeholders.  With respect to prosecutors, police, judges and criminal defense attorneys, the PCSL will work to build relationships that will lead to the opportunities to present CLE and OPATA training courses statewide.  The PCSL will also develop relationships and educate on policy matters to increase voluntary adoption of “best practices” among these stakeholders.  With respect to legislators, the PCSL will develop relationships and educate regarding the need for legislative reforms to make the criminal justice system more accurate and fair. Read... read more

Executive Director, Innocence Project of Minnesota

The Innocence Project of Minnesota is currently accepting applications for the Executive Director, full-time, position.  The Executive Director reports directly to the Board of Directors. S/he will work with the board to set and achieve annual fundraising and organizational goals in addition to helping with policy initiatives. The Executive Director is often the face of the organization, representing IPMN to external audiences and managing day to day operations. Qualifications: Minimum of a Bachelor’s Degree is required. Preference will be given to those with Juris Doctorates.  Minimum 3-5 years of demonstrated experience in organizational leadership and management within the for-profit and non-profit industry. Previous experience and demonstrated success in fundraising including individual giving, events, and foundation grants. Financial management skills including budgeting, supervision of bookkeeping and accounting and maintaining sufficient internal controls. Demonstrated ability to think strategically, including planning, project development, implementation and assessment. Demonstrated ability to communicate effectively, orally and in writing, including proven ability to effectively present concepts and proposals to others individually, as well as in small and large groups. Demonstrated ability to hire, train, lead and manage a multi-disciplinary staff in a manner which develops employees and volunteers and meets organizational objectives. Ability to work effectively and collaborate with others, including Board members, volunteers, donors, lawyers, and university leaders and faculty. Read... read more

State Policy Advocate, Innocence Project

The State Policy Advocate leads campaigns to change the laws, policies, and practices that contribute to the wrongful conviction of innocent people.  A central goal of the Innocence Project is to reform the criminal justice system to prevent future injustices, and the advocates work state by state to pass laws that address deficiencies in the system that have been identified through the exoneration of innocent people.  Working in legislatures, with law enforcement, local advocacy organizations and other stakeholders, the advocates lobby, build coalitions and create pressure for reform. Read... read more