About the Innocence Network

About Us

The Innocence Network is an affiliation of 67 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 55 U.S. based and 12 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 last fifteen 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, Mid-Atlantic Innocence Project

Job Summary The Mid-Atlantic Innocence Project’s (MAIP) Staff Attorney represents clients in the District of Columbia, Maryland, and Virginia who have been convicted of crimes they did not commit and is part of a team that helps evaluate cases. The Staff Attorney works under the direction of the Legal Director and on a team that includes a post-graduate legal fellow, a staff investigator, a paralegal, and two attorneys at a Baltimore affiliate. The Staff Attorney’s docket includes: cases that still are in the investigative stage, requiring extensive factual development to determine whether there is a valid innocence claim; and cases in which an innocence claim already has been developed and are being litigated through a variety of avenues, including freestanding innocence claims, post-conviction DNA testing, federal habeas, state post-conviction, and the pardon process. In addition to their own docket, the Staff Attorney is an active part of the legal team. This involves helping to manage the externship program with law students from George Washington University Law School, actively participating in weekly case meetings to help determine which cases MAIP should investigate, and to brainstorm with colleagues about their cases. Essential job functions Manage investigative and post-conviction docket Craft litigation strategy Develop investigative plans in conjunction with staff investigator Conduct some investigations and manage witness relationshipsWork with experts as appropriate and necessaryWrite extensive motions & briefsNegotiate with prosecutors Conduct hearings Communicate with Clients and family members regarding casesWork collaboratively with co-counsel from large law firmsSupervise investigators and paralegals on your cases MAIP’s legal team Attend and participate in a weekly case meetingCarefully read screening memos and be prepared to offer... read more

Associate Director, Center for Criminal Justice

Job Description This position oversees the day to day operations of the Earl Carl Institute’s Center for Criminal Justice. This position is primarily responsible for the Thurgood Marshall School of Law Innocence Project providing oversight of investigations and representation and/or litigation support in bringing actual innocence claims. Essential Duties Summary Manages day-to-day operations of the ECI-Center for Criminal Justice. Oversight of the Thurgood Marshall School of Law Innocence Project including investigations and litigation of actual innocence cases. Develops and implements an organizational plan/plan of action for the ECI Center for Criminal Justice. Develops programs and alliances with various governmental entities at a local, state and federal level to advance the Center’s mission and the development of the students. Assists other ECI staff with research and writing projects related to criminal justice reforms. Serves as the primary source for coordination of community education programs related to indigent defense. Serves as the primary source for the research and development of criminal law and public policy articles, studies, papers, and reports in related areas. Performs other job-related duties as required. Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities Requires excellent legal skills as well as superior organizational, written and oral communications skills. Must have the ability to use personal computers and Microsoft Office software such as Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Publisher; as well as other software typically used in the professions such as Westlaw, Lexis/Nexis, ProDoc or similar. Experience using CLIO and Google Forms is a plus. Work Experience Requires five (5) to seven (7) years of related experience. The successful candidate should be able and willing to explain all legal issues and options in a... read more