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;
  • 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.


IIP Receives Federal DNA Testing Grant

U.S. Senator Richard Durbin recently announced the Illinois Innocence Project with the support of the UIS Center for State Policy and Leadership, has been awarded a $753,958 grant from the Department of Justice.
The grant will allow IIP to expand its work in two undeserved areas: 1) Guilty plea cases – pursue DNA testing of evidence in cases where individuals pleaded guilty to a crime even though they were innocent; and 2) Latino cases – pursue DNA testing of evidence in cases where Latino inmates may be innocent. Read more …

Support the Illinois Innocence Project

BY THE NUMBERS:                                

  • 1,946 requests for help since 2001

  • 300+ requests for help in 2015

  • 26 active cases

  • 10 cases with DNA evidence in testing

  • 496 backlogged cases awaiting review

  • 8 releases

*As of October 2015





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.

Defenders of the Innocent Event 2015

Wednesday, April 8

Incredibly successful event!

Watch our Annual Defenders of the Innocent event celebrating eye-witness identification reform in Illinois and featuring Jennifer Thompson and Exoneree Ronald Cotton.

Illinois Innocence Awards_2015

  Click to watch      WSEC



An event is one thing … but our ongoing fight for the FREEDOM of innocent men and women is our priority. 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


8th Exoneration
March 9, 2015

Angel Gonzalez was exonerated after 21 years in prison

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.

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.


Angel Gonzalez

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