Illinois Innocence Project

Seeking justice for the wrongfully convicted

10th Annual Defenders of the Innocent Event

Saturday, April 29, 2017

A record crowd turned out for the Illinois Innocence Project’s annual Defenders of the Innocent event. This year’s featured speakers were Yusef and Sharonne Salaam. Yusef was wrongfully convicted as a member of the Central Park Five”, a notorious case that captured the nation’s attention in 1989. He and four others spent thirteen or more years in prison. The real perpetrator confessed and the New York courts vacated their convictions in 2002. Yusef spoke passionately on how the justice system fails the wrongfully convicted. His mother, Sharonne, gave an emotionally charged address on the effect of wrongful convictions on families. Yusef and Sharonne charged the audience to support the efforts of the Illinois Innocence Project and all innocence projects nation wide.

(Note: Click on any photo for a slide show.)


2017 Defenders of the Innocent Event Thank You

NAACP Decatur Award to the Illinois Innocence Project

[Online edition available here]


En Espanol 2016 ButtonVea nuestra información de contacto en español.

10th Exoneration – November 24, 2016

Charles Palmer

jhcp-congratulate The Illinois Innocence Project (IIP) is very pleased to announce that our client Charles Palmer was exonerated and freed on Wednesday November 23, 2016, after 18 years of incarceration for a murder that DNA proved he did not commit. The case involved the 1998 murder of a man in Decatur IL. The victim had expired with an unknown person’s tissue under his fingernails, and another person’s hair in his hand, both of which went untested prior to trial…

His story continues….

9th Exoneration – January 29, 2016

Teshome Campbell

erica-tc-laurenOn Christmas morning 1997, a group of men fatally beat another man in Champaign, IL. Teshome, who was 21 at the time, was implicated through faulty eyewitness testimony. Despite maintaining his innocence from day one, and the fact that no physical evidence linked him to the crime, Teshome was tried for first-degree murder.At trial, the state’s evidence included testimony from two co-defendants who were charged in the same case and…

His story continues….


Building Awareness of Wrongful Convictions

Professor Gwen Jordan

At the invitation of the Police Training Institute at the University of Illinois Urbana/Champaign, the Illinois Innocence Project has presented programs to officer recruits. Over two years in the planning, these optional sessions have been well received and attended by a majority of the cadets. [More about the Initiative]


Most exonerees spend years in prison only to return to society without any resources. Some justice systems have laws that allow for compensation and resources for wrongful convictions. Others require exonerees to file complicated claims in a long, drawn out process that takes years. All exonerees deserve fair compensation, services like education and job training, and an apology from the state.

Illinois Innocence Project, Executive Director, John Hanlon was interviewed on NPR Illinois 91.9 UIS about exoneree compensation and the problems faced by recent IIP exoneree, Angel Gonzalez.


Exploring the Innocence Movement

Massive Open Online Course (MOOC)

GwenJordan_003Here’s your chance to learn about the Innocence Movement and wrongful convictions. UIS sponsors a FREE Massive Open Online Course (MOOC), taught by our own staff attorney and Legal Studies professor, Gwen Jordan! It features interviews with exonerees, innocence attorneys, student interns, and community volunteers. The course is self-paced and open to anyone. Enroll in the course today

Find more details on the course