To submit a case to the Innocence Project
The Innocence Project is not equipped to handle case applications or inquiries by email or over the phone. All case submissions and follow-up correspondence will be handled by mail or overnight delivery services only.
If you are seeking legal assistance, please read the following guidelines for submitting your case.
The Innocence Project ONLY considers cases that are:
- The trial has been completed, an appeal has taken place and the person is serving their sentence.
- There is physical evidence that, if subjected to DNA testing, will prove that the applicant is innocent. This means that physical evidence was collected — for example blood, bodily fluids, clothing, hair — and if that evidence can be found and tested, the test will prove that the applicant could not have committed the crime. The applicant must have been convicted of a crime. We do not review claims where the applicant was wrongfully suspected, arrested or charged, but not convicted.
- The crime occurred in the United States, but not in: Arizona, California, Illinois, Michigan, or Ohio. Our intake is currently closed to these states. Please write to the local innocence organizations in those states for assistance.
The Innocence Project only reviews a limited number of cases where DNA testing cannot prove innocence. Further, the Innocence Project does NOT handle the following types of cases:
- Consent / Transaction: The applicant claims that there was no crime because the victim consented to the events (e.g. consensual intercourse) and/or received some form of payment in exchange for the activity (e.g. prostitution, drug transaction)
- Self-defense / Justification: The applicant admits to causing the injury/death but believes the acts were justified because the applicant acted in self-defense or to protect other people.
- Sustained Abuse: The applicant is accused of crime against the victim(s) that happened more than once and over a period of time (e.g., allegations of long-term sexual abuse of a family member).
- Illegal Possession / Distribution of any controlled substance: The applicant is only challenging a possession or distribution charge.
- RICO / Hobbs Act: The applicant has been charged under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) or the Hobbs Act.
- DWI or DUI: The applicant was convicted of driving while intoxicated (DWI) or driving under the influence (DUI).
- Fraud / Identity Theft / Forgery: The applicant was only convicted of one or more of these crimes.
- Stalking / Harassment: The primary charges against the applicant involve stalking and/or harassment.
- Sentencing Reduction / Overcharged: The applicant wants to challenge the charge or length of sentence but does not claim innocence.
40 Worth St., Suite 701
New York, NY 10013
No other documents should be submitted for initial review. The Innocence Project is not equipped to handle telephone or electronic (email) applications.
The Innocence Project only accepts cases on post-conviction appeal in which DNA testing can prove innocence. If the case does not involve biological evidence or DNA, visit the Innocence Network to see if there is a program in your area that provides broader legal and investigative assistance, and if so, write to them. All mailing addresses can be found here.
We have heard that there are people who fraudulently represent themselves as working for the Innocence Project, promising legal representation in exchange for money. These people do not work for the Innocence Project. The Innocence Project provides all legal representation for free. While we rely on charitable donations to support our work, we never solicit money for our services from our clients.