Illinois has consistently been one of the top two states with the most exonerations. People who are not on death row get no immediate help from the state once they have lost their first direct appeal. For the wrongfully convicted, how can they prove their innocence when they are behind bars?
They need help in developing evidence for their petitions for post-conviction relief, which is their first opportunity to challenge their conviction, based on actual innocence. Our cases typically do not turn on DNA evidence. Instead, we look at factors such as eyewitness misidentification, false confessions, ineffective counsel, unreliable forensic evidence and/or misconduct by prosecutors or police. We provide our services at no cost, in conjunction with the inmate's private attorney.
The Illinois Innocence Project has had great success during its first eight years by particpating in four exonerations and two releases:
Illinois Innocence Project receives "Award of Excellence" from the Illinois Public Defenders Association.
Pictured are Bill Clutter, then Director of Investigations, Samantha Gaddy, Graduate Assistant (Fall 07 through Spring 09), Sister Maira Barry of the Springfield Dominican Sisters, and John Hanlon, then pro-bono legal advisor to the Project.