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Innocence Project University of Illinois Springfield

Innocence Project Cover Photo

Illinois Innocence Project

The Illinois Innocence Project (IIP) has a three-part mission:

  • To evaluate and investigate cases for credible claims of an Illinois inmate’s actual innocence, and, when appropriate, provide legal representation and/or other assistance toward proving the inmate’s actual innocence (Download a PDF copy of our Attorney Case Referral Form);
  • To encourage meaningful reforms toward preventing the conviction of innocent persons in the future;
  • To educate the public and provide important educational and experiential opportunities for students about wrongful convictions.

Defenders of the Innocent Event 2015

Wednesday, April 8

Incredibly successful event! Tune in and watch it on WSEC/PBS Springfield on Sunday, 19th April at 3:00 pm. YouTube Video of the event coming soon… Stay Tuned!

Illinois Innocence Awards_2015

An event is one thing … but our ongoing fight for the FREEDOM of innocent men and women is another. Please – donate to the Illinois Innocence Project Fund to help people like Angel Gonzalez, who wouldn’t be here RIGHT NOW without the innocence movement!!
Click Here to


Angel Gonzalez

8th Exoneration
March 9, 2015


Angel Gonzalez exonerated after 21 years in prison

On March 10, Angel Gonzalez walked out of Dixon a free and fully exonerated man.

Angel’s exoneration and release, in collaboration with the Innocence Project, are extraordinary achievements for the Illinois Innocence Project, closely following our client Christopher Abernathy’s exoneration and release last month!

Angel Gonzalez

For 21 years Angel fought to prove his innocence, after a 1994 conviction put him in prison for a 55-year sentence. He was convicted based on eyewitness identification and a coerced confession, yet no evidence linked him to the crime. Finally, DNA tests just two weeks ago conclusively proved he was not one of the two rapists in the case.

We expect Mr. Gonzalez to join us at our 8th Annual Fundraising event on April 8th at Erin’s Pavilion! Please come to CELEBRATE JUSTICE and crucial EYEWITNESS IDENTIFICATION REFORMS aimed at helping to curb wrongful and tragic convictions of innocent people like Mr. Gonzalez.

Our program will feature Jennifer Thompson and exoneree Ronald Cotton, both victims of a flawed witness identification process. Like Angel and Christopher, Ronald spent years in prison for a crime he did not commit. And Jennifer experienced the horror of a brutal sexual assault and then the horror of learning, through DNA testing, she had unintentionally identified the wrong person.

We also will present Representative Scott Drury and Senator Kwame Raoul our Defenders Award for their sponsorship of eyewitness identification reform legislation, signed into law by Governor Quinn in August.

Support the Illinois Innocence Project

7th Exoneration
February 11
, 2015

UIS Illinois Innocence Project achieves exoneration of Christopher Abernathy, after almost 30 years in prison for a crime he did not commit

Exoneration 1

                               *Chris’s first step to freedom with his mother leading the way and Project Attorney Lauren Kaeseberg with Director Larry Golden talking to press. 

Selected Press and TV coverage

1. Innocence Project at UIS helps free man in prison 29 years – The State Journal Register, February 12th-2015

2. Tribune Exclusive: Man free after 30 years says ‘It’s just scary to be out’- Chicago Tribune, February 11th-2015

3.  Chicago man free after 28 years in jail for murder he did not commit- The Guardian, February 12th-2015


Please donate now to help the Project continue its work. Click Here




8th Annual Defenders of the Innocent Awards Event

Defenders Of The Innocent

7th Annual Defenders of the Innocent Awards Short Film

Please take a moment to watch this short film sharing the stories of some of our clients and their families.

UIS launches a free Massive Open Online Course (MOOC)

Exploring the Innocence Movement

Here’s your chance to learn about the Innocence Movement and wrongful convictions. UIS is launching a FREE Massive Open Online Course (MOOC), taught by our own staff attorney and Legal Studies professor, Gwen Jordan! This six-week course begins February 2, 2015 and is open to anyone. Click here to enroll:

Staff Attorney and Legal Studies Professor Gwen Jordan


More details on the course in the link below.

Peggy Jo Jackson

Photo of Peggy Jo Jackson and IIP staff.

The Illinois Innocence Project celebrated the clemency of Peggy Jo Jackson who had been wrongfully imprisoned for over 26 years.

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Anthony Murray

Anthony Murray Release

The Illinois Innocence Project celebrated the release of Anthony Murray who had been wrongfully imprisoned for over 14 years.

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