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.

Please contact the Innocence Network Support Unit with any questions about Network membership or the membership process. If you are seeking legal assistance, please contact the Network member in your area.

Important Note: the Innocence Network Support Unit does not review claims of innocence. If you or a family member are reaching out with an inquiry for legal help or assistance, please click here to find an Innocence Network member organization in your area.


 

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

Staff Attorney, Innocence Project of Minnesota

A challenging and rewarding full-time position working on the exoneration of innocent people under the supervision of the Legal Director. The Staff Attorney is part of a cohesive team of professionals, led by the Executive Director, who are focused on fulfilling all aspects of the mission of the Innocence Project of Minnesota. The Staff Attorney will be responsible for screening, investigating, and litigating cases in Minnesota and North Dakota (and possibly in South Dakota) in which an incarcerated individual is claiming actual innocence and evidence of innocence can be found. The cases that this attorney might encounter may involve complex issues of forensic science and difficult factual issues that require significant experience in the criminal justice system. Most cases will not involve DNA evidence. The Staff Attorney may collaborate with and manage volunteer attorneys, law students, paralegal interns, professional investigators, and expert witnesses on some cases. 5+ years of experience required. Learn... read more

State Policy Advocate, Innocence Project

The Innocence Project was founded in 1992 by Barry C. Scheck and Peter J. Neufeld at the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law at Yeshiva University to assist the wrongly convicted who could be proven innocent through DNA testing. The Innocence Project’s groundbreaking use of DNA technology to free innocent people has provided irrefutable proof that wrongful convictions are not isolated or rare events but instead arise from systemic defects. Now an independent nonprofit organization closely affiliated with Cardozo School of Law at Yeshiva University, the Innocence Project’s mission is to free the staggering numbers of innocent people who remain incarcerated and to bring substantive reform to the system responsible for their unjust imprisonment. To learn more, please visit www.innocenceproject.org. 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

Program Director, Korey Wise Innocence Project

The Program Director will direct the Korey Wise Innocence Project at Colorado Law School.  The Colorado Innocence Project at Colorado Law has existed at the law school for approximately eight years.    The Innocence Project at Colorado Law receives requests for help from inmates in the Colorado Department of Corrections who assert that they are innocent and have been wrongly convicted and evaluates these claims to see if there are factual and legal grounds that support their innocence claims and could be used to reverse their convictions.   The Director will be responsible for recruiting, training and supervising law students, volunteer lawyers, and volunteer investigators in managing and maintaining the work of the project on a daily basis. Read... read more