Spanish Translation

Non-DNA Exonerations

The Innocence Project provides pro bono legal representation on behalf of people seeking to prove their innocence post-conviction. Since its inception in 1992, the Innocence Project has only taken cases where DNA testing can prove innocence. For more on our criteria for taking cases and the process for submitting a case for consideration, click here.

In some rare circumstances, however, the Innocence Project has helped exonerate clients through evidence other than DNA testing. We often have to close cases because the biological evidence is missing or destroyed, making DNA testing impossible. In some of those cases, strong evidence of innocence is discovered during the search for biological evidence, and we are able to secure our clients' freedom without DNA testing. In other cases, DNA test results alone are not enough to free our clients, but can help exonerate people when coupled with other evidence of innocence. In all of these cases, new evidence of innocence resulted in our clients' convictions being vacated and indictments against them being dismissed, fully exonerating them.

These cases underscore a critical point: DNA testing alone cannot overturn most wrongful convictions. In fact, experts estimate that DNA testing is possible in just 5-10% of all criminal cases. That is why a growing number of organizations in the Innocence Network handle cases regardless of whether DNA testing is possible. For a directory of these organizations, click here.

Below is a list of eight Innocence Project cases, with links to full profiles, in which clients were exonerated through evidence other than DNA testing.

The National Registry of Exonerations, a joint project of the University of the Michigan Law School and the Center on Wrongful Convictions at Northwestern University School of Law, provides detailed information about every known exoneration in the United States since 1989. The Registry includes the DNA exonerations tracked by the Innocence Project here as well as hundreds of other non-DNA cases in which a person was wrongly convicted of a crime and later cleared of all the charges. Browse the Registry here.