Innocence Project

Innocence Project
Founded: 1992

To assist incarcerated individuals who could be proven innocent through DNA testing.

About the Organization:
The Innocence Project is a national litigation and public policy organization dedicated to exonerating wrongfully convicted individuals through DNA testing and reforming the criminal justice system to prevent future injustices. Since 1992, three hundred and eleven people have been exonerated through DNA testing in the United States — eighteen of whom who were at one time sentenced to death — and in most of these cases the Innocence Project was the attorney of record or consulted with the defense.

Current Programs:
The organization serves as the "court of last resort" for inmates who have exhausted their means and appeals and whose only hope for overturning a wrongful conviction is to submit biological evidence from their cases for DNA testing. To that end, all clients go through an extensive screening process to determine whether DNA testing could help prove their claim of innocence. As a nonprofit law clinic affiliated with the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law at Yeshiva University, the organization also enables law students to gain casework experience while supervised by a team of attorneys and clinic staff, and consults with legislators and law enforcement officials at the state, local, and federal level, produces scholarship, and proposes a wide range of solutions to prevent wrongful convictions.

Web Site:
Visitors to the site can browse or search case files of individuals who were wrongfully convicted and later exonerated based on DNA evidence; learn about factors that lead to wrongful convictions, including eyewitness misidentification, unvalidated or improper forensic science, and false confessions or admissions; explore recommended reforms to the criminal justice system as well as "10 Things Anyone Can Do to Help Exonerate Innocent People and Prevent Wrongful Convictions"; stay abreast of developments in the field via the Innocence project blog; subscribe to the organization's e-newsletter; apply for internship and volunteering opportunities; and/or make a donation.

The Innocence Project receives funding from individuals (45 percent), foundations (30 percent), an annual benefit dinner (15 percent), the Cardozo School of Law (7 percent), and corporations.

Contact: Barry C. Scheck and Peter J. Neufeld, Co-Directors
40 Worth St., Suite 701
New York, NY 10013