The Illinois Innocence Project (IIP) provides investigative and legal research services to attorneys representing inmates who both the attorneys and the Project have good reason to believe did not commit the crimes for which they were convicted.
The IIP involves degree seeking undergraduate and graduate students, under the supervision of the inmate's attorney and Project faculty and/or criminal investigator, in providing these services. The IIP does not provide legal representation directly to defendants or inmates.
Our resources are limited and we are able to assist only a very few inmates at a time. As a result, the primary guidelines that will be weighted in determining whether to accept an inmate's case include the following:
(1) where a defendant admits to killing or assaulting someone, but claims that it was done in self-defense;
(2) where a defendant admits to sexual contact with a person, but claims that the person consented to the contact;
(3) where a defendant was convicted as an accessory (or as a party-to-the-crime) and seeks to show that he or she did not play a major role in the crime.
In deciding whether a case meets the requirement that there be a strong likelihood that the inmate is actually innocent of the crime for which he or she has been convicted, project staff will exam such factors as the following:
An inmate may submit a request for assistance to the project via mail. Letters should clearly indicate the crime for which the inmate is incarcerated, the county of the offense, time remaining on the sentence and appropriate contact information for the inmate.
An attorney who believes his or her inmate's case meets all of these guidelines and would like to seek the assistance of the Illinois Innocence Project can request assistance by completing the Attorney Case Referral Form (pdf) and returning it to us.
Requests for assistance and referral forms can be emailed or sent to this address:
Illinois Innocence Project
Institute for Legal and Policy Studies
University of Illinois Springfield
One University Plaza, MS PAC 451
Springfield, IL 62703-5407
After we have received an attorney request, we will get back in touch as quickly as we can. Be aware however that because the project is working at capacity, it may be awhile before new cases can be accepted.
Please click here for the Illinois Innocence Project ATTORNEY CASE REFERRAL FORM (pdf).