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

Director of Development and Communications, Northern California Innocence Project

The Northern California Innocence Project is seeking a highly qualified, creative and resourceful Director of Development and Communications to join its team. The Northern California Innocence Project (NCIP) is a legal aid project which is part of Santa Clara University Law School.  NCIP’s mission is to create a fair, effective and compassionate criminal justice system and to protect the rights of the innocent.  Throughout its 16 year history, NCIP has exonerated 18 individuals who, collectively, have spent more than 230 years in prison, wrongfully incarcerated, and helped dozens more. With a relatively new executive director, strong reserves to sustain a transition to more active major donor solicitation and outreach, and an expanding scope of work, NCIP is poised for increased impact and positive development in the years ahead.  NCIP has offices at Santa Clara University and operates a $1.4 million annual budget, raised through a combination of individual donations, government and foundation grants, corporate contributions and law firm support.  Reporting to the Executive Director, the Dev/Comm Director is a full-time exempt position.  This position will work closely with NCIP’s Executive Director and Associate Director to increase NCIP’s visibility to external constituents in order to increase its capacity to raise money, expand its funding base, reach new constituencies, identify and engage additional partners in the community.  This position will also help strengthen and expand NCIP’s communications and visibility in the community with a goal to develop further leadership and awareness of NCIP’s work.  The Dev/Comm Director is part of NCIP’s leadership team. Responsibilities include design and implementation of effective major gifts program, stewardship of major donors, planning annual development events (including annual... read more

Business and Office Manager, Witness to Innocence

Witness to Innocence (WTI) is the only national organization in the United States composed of and led by exonerated death row survivors and their family members. The mission of WTI is to abolish the death penalty by empowering exonerated death row survivors and their loved ones to become effective leaders in the abolition movement. WTI actively challenges political leaders and the public to grapple with the reality of a fatally flawed criminal justice system that sends innocent people to death row. WTI also seeks ways to support death row survivors and their loved ones as they confront the challenges of life after exoneration. The Business and Office Manager will serve as the administrative staff person for the organization. S/he will be responsible for maintaining the organization’s records, including financial records, overseeing the organization’s databases, conducting business communication with the organization’s contractors and vendors, and managing the organization’s day-to-day operations. This is a full time position. 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. The Deputy Director of Development is a new position being created to help manage a growing and dynamic department. Reporting to the Director of Development and External Affairs, the Deputy Director will supervise the Managers for Individual Giving and Special Events and have significant responsibility for expanding support for the annual campaign including a significant 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

Staff Attorney, Strategic Litigation, 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 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. The Staff Attorney, Strategic Litigation reports to the Director of Strategic Litigation and works closely with the Innocence Project’s Co-Directors, and other members of the department, including a paralegal.  Staff attorneys also collaborate with staff in the Legal, Policy and Science/ Research Departments. The staff attorney hired to fill this position will work primarily on the Innocence Project’s eyewitness identification law reform initiatives. This is a full time position and requires some travel. Read... read more

Contract Attorney, Wrongful Conviction Division, Iowa State Public Defender

The State Public Defender’s Office is seeking to contract with up to two attorneys to be part of the Wrongful Conviction Division as an independent contractor.  The opportunity is based in Des Moines and work can be done remotely.  The contract would begin June 1, 2017 and end December 31, 2017, with the possibility of renewal terms dependent on additional grant funding.  The Wrongful Conviction Division (WCD) is partnered with the Midwest Innocence Project to review cases in which a particular type of forensic analysis was conducted. Based on new information from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, lab analysts may have been trained to over-state the significance of their findings. A thorough review of all of the cases affected is needed. In consultation with the WCD Director, contract attorneys will review documents, determine the location and existence of evidence, and draft motions for post-conviction testing.  Candidates should have substantial experience in criminal law, superior appellate and postconviction litigation skills, and the ability to work independently, as well as in close coordination with WCD staff. The ideal candidate will have familiarity with DNA and forensic evidence. Applicant must have a strong commitment to representing indigent clients and excellent legal research, writing, and presentation skills. Candidates must be admitted to practice in Iowa. Experience with an innocence organization/clinic preferred. Rate of pay is $5,000 per month with a minimum requirement of 84 hours of work invoiced per month.  If interested, please submit a resume and cover letter (e-mailed PDF as one document is strongly preferred) by May 1, 2017, to: April Barkley Brown Office of the State Public Defender Lucas State Office... read more

Communications Manager, Engagement and Special Projects, 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 otherwise reform the criminal justice system. The Communications Manager, Engagement and Special Projects, works closely with the Communications Director to develop and implement the organization’s outreach events and engagement strategies with artists, exonerees, and external partners in order to increase public awareness about issues that the wrongly convicted face in the criminal justice system and build public support for the Innocence Project. This position will report to the Communications Director, work closely with the other members of the communications team and development staff. The duties of this position require approximately 40 hours of work per week to be performed in-office. Read... read more

Staff Attorney, Arizona Justice Project

The Arizona Justice Project (“AJP”), a nonprofit organization, is dedicated to seeking justice for the innocent and correcting cases of manifest injustice in the Arizona criminal justice system. With a mission to seek justice for the marginalized and forgotten, the AJP provides pro bono legal representation to indigent individuals who have been wrongfully convicted in Arizona. We are currently seeking a full-time Staff Attorney to assist in case review, investigation and post-conviction litigation proceedings. Read... read more

Strategic Litigation Counsel, Arizona Justice Project

The Arizona Justice Project (“AJP”), a nonprofit organization, is dedicated to seeking justice for the innocent and correcting cases of manifest injustice in the Arizona criminal justice system. With a mission to seek justice for the marginalized and forgotten, the AJP provides pro bono legal representation to indigent individuals who have been wrongfully convicted in Arizona. The Strategic Litigation Counsel position will work on individual cases and use multiple litigation strategies to inform criminal justice stakeholders, including judges, attorneys and policy makers, of common factors that have led to wrongful convictions with the goal of improving the system to prevent future wrongful convictions. This litigation position will focus on cases where unvalidated forensic disciplines including forensic odontology, microscopic hair comparison, tire track and shoe print comparison, and some forms of firearms comparison, which lack scientific validity, have previously led to wrongful convictions. This attorney will seek to strengthen the system by working through the courts and engaging policy-makers to prevent future injustice. Read more.... read more