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:
- Postconviction—the trial and direct appeal are over and final. If you have not yet been convicted and lost your appeals, we cannot help you. Please do not write to us for assistance until after you have been convicted and your appeals have been completed.
- There is physical evidence that, if subjected to DNA testing, will prove that the defendant is actually 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 defendant could not have committed the crime. Examples of crimes where biological evidence can prove innocence include sexual assaults, homicides, assaults with close physical contact or a struggle and some robberies—where physical evidence was collected that was worn by or in contact with the actual perpetrator.
- The defendant must have been convicted of a crime. We do not review claims where the defendant was wrongfully suspected, arrested or charged, but not actually convicted.
- The crime occurred in the United States, but not: Arizona, California, Illinois, Michigan, Ohio, Washington, Wisconsin, or Puerto Rico. Our intake is currently closed to these states. Click here for a list of innocence organizations in those states.
The Innocence Project does NOT review claims where DNA testing cannot prove innocence. We do not handle the following types of cases:
- Consent/Transaction: The defendant claims that there was no crime because the victim consented to the events (e.g. agreed to sex) and/or received some form of payment in exchange for the activity. (e.g. prostitution, drug transaction)
- Self Defense/Justification: The defendant admits to causing the injury/death but believes the acts were justified because s/he acted in self defense or to protect other people.
- Sustained Abuse – The defendant is accused of crimes 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 defendant is only challenging a possession or distribution charge.
- RICO: The defendant has been charged under RICO
- DWI or DUI: The defendant was convicted of driving while intoxicated (DWI) or driving under the influence (DUI).
- Fraud/Identity Theft/Forgery: The defendant was only convicted of one or more of these crimes.
- Stalking/Harassment – The primary charges against the defendant involve stalking and/or harassment.
- Sentencing reduction/overcharged – The defendant wants to challenge the charge or length of sentence but does not claim innocence.
All cases for consideration should print and complete this form (PDF) and mail it to:
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.
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.