City Hall
Rosa Jimenez
Melissa Lucio rally
Gregory Counts
Peter Neufeld
Michelle Murphy

Chronicling a Powerful
Legacy of

 Justice 
 Work 

Anthony Wright
2006 Innocence Network Conference
Cardoza ID Conference
Alan Newton
Elijah Craig
Renay Lynch

Chronicling a
Powerful Legacy of

Justice 
Work 

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City Hall
Rosa Jimenez
Anthony Wright
2006 Innocence Network Conference
Melissa Lucio rally
Gregory Counts
Cardoza ID Conference
Alan Newton
Peter Neufeld
Michelle Murphy
Elijah Craig
Renay Lynch

Realizing the power of DNA testing in ending wrongful convictions, Barry Scheck and Peter Neufeld founded the Innocence Project as a law clinic at the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law in 1992.

The Innocence Project has since become an independent nonprofit and continues to stand at the vanguard of criminal legal system reform by restoring freedom for the wrongfully convicted, transforming the systems that unfairly incarcerated them, and advancing the innocence movement.

Collaborative Victory

Collaborative Victory

Much of our work has been done in conjunction with Innocence Network organizations, lawyers, exonerees, and/or other key partners. Those collaborations are marked with a "Collaborative Victory" symbol.

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1992

History
Our Founding
Barry Scheck and Peter Neufeld establish the Innocence Project as a law clinic at the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law.
Innocence Project founders Barry Scheck and Peter Neufeld
Barry Scheck (right) and Peter Neufeld (left) first met as public defenders at Bronx Legal Aid Society. The two realized the significance of DNA technology after learning of DNA methods through their work with students on the case of Marion Coakley. Soon, a small group of lawyers, students, and volunteers took on cases to free wrongfully convicted people through DNA testing at the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law.
Restoring Freedom
Law icon
The first Innocence Project client exonerated
The first Innocence Project client exonerated
Glen Woodall is exonerated. He was wrongly convicted of multiple sexual assaults based on eyewitness misidentification, government misconduct, and flawed serology and hair analysis.
Glen Woodall
Glen Woodall wrongfully spent five years in prison.
Restoring Freedom
Law icon
The first Innocence Project client exonerated
The first Innocence Project client exonerated
Glen Woodall
Glen Woodall wrongfully spent five years in prison.
Glen Woodall is exonerated. He was wrongly convicted of multiple sexual assaults based on eyewitness misidentification, government misconduct, and flawed serology and hair analysis.

1993

Restoring Freedom
DNA icon
The first person exonerated from death row through post-conviction DNA testing.
Kirk Bloodsworth is exonerated after being wrongly convicted of sexual assault and murder based on eyewitness misidentification and government misconduct.
Restoring Freedom
Kirk Bloodsworth is exonerated after being wrongly convicted of sexual assault and murder based on eyewitness misidentification and government misconduct.
DNA icon
The first person exonerated from death row through post-conviction DNA testing.
Kirk Bloodsworth

1996

History
Tracking Wrongful Convictions
U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno, who is later a founding member of the Innocence Project's board, commissions a report on causes of the 28 wrongful convictions overturned through DNA testing.
US Attorney General Janet Reno
History
Tracking Wrongful Convictions
U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno, who is later a founding member of the Innocence Project's board, commissions a report on causes of the 28 wrongful convictions overturned through DNA testing.
US Attorney General Janet Reno

2000

Advancing the Movement
Innocence Stories
Actual Innocence, by Peter Neufeld, Barry Scheck, and New York Times reporter Jim Dwyer, is published.
Actual Innocence book cover
Advancing the Movement
Innocence Stories
Actual Innocence, by Peter Neufeld, Barry Scheck, and New York Times reporter Jim Dwyer, is published.
Actual Innocence book cover
Restoring Freedom
Earl Washington is exonerated based on DNA evidence and is the first person to be exonerated from Virginia's death row. His case helps pass laws that allow people to more easily get their cases back in court to prove their innocence, and was also cited in Governor Ralph Northam's 2021 decision to abolish the death penalty In Virginia.
Earl Washington Earl Washington
Earl Washington (pictured center) was wrongfully imprisoned for 16 years for a murder and rape he did not commit. He once came within nine days of execution.
Restoring Freedom
Earl Washington is exonerated based on DNA evidence and is the first person to be exonerated from Virginia's death row. His case helps pass laws that allow people to more easily get their cases back in court to prove their innocence, and was also cited in Governor Ralph Northam's 2021 decision to abolish the death penalty In Virginia.
Earl Washington
Earl Washington
Earl Washington (pictured center) was wrongfully imprisoned for 16 years for a murder and rape he did not commit. He once came within nine days of execution.

2001

Restoring Freedom
Magnifying glass icon
The 100th person exonerated in the United States.
Larry Mayes, represented by the Innocence Project and the Innocence Project at the Indiana University School of Law, is exonerated after wrongfully spending 19 years in prison for a rape and robbery he did not commit.
Collaborative Victory
Restoring Freedom
Magnifying glass icon
The 100th person exonerated in the United States.
Larry Mayes, represented by the Innocence Project and the Innocence Project at the Indiana University School of Law, is exonerated after wrongfully spending 19 years in prison for a rape and robbery he did not commit.
Collaborative Victory

2003

Advancing the Movement
Photographing the Wrongfully Convicted
The Innocents, a Guggenheim Award-winning series by multidisciplinary artist Taryn Simon that documents the stories of those who were wrongfully incarcerated, is published.
Larry Youngblood with girlfriend Alice Laitner Troy Webb
Exoneree Larry Youngblood with his girlfriend Alice Laitner, who was an alibi witness at his trial, in Tucson, Arizona. Top right: Exoneree Troy Webb at the scene of the crime in Virginia Beach, Virginia. (Images: Taryn Simon)
Advancing the Movement
Photographing the Wrongfully Convicted
The Innocents, a Guggenheim Award-winning series by multidisciplinary artist Taryn Simon that documents the stories of those who were wrongfully incarcerated, is published.
Larry Youngblood with girlfriend Alice Laitner
Troy Webb
Exoneree Larry Youngblood with his girlfriend Alice Laitner, who was an alibi witness at his trial, in Tucson, Arizona. Top right: Exoneree Troy Webb at the scene of the crime in Virginia Beach, Virginia. (Images: Taryn Simon)
Transforming Systems
Magnifying glass icon
Electronic Recording in Illinois
Illinois becomes the first state to pass a law requiring electronic recording of interrogation from start to finish.
Transforming Systems
Magnifying glass icon
Electronic Recording in Illinois
Illinois becomes the first state to pass a law requiring electronic recording of interrogation from start to finish.

2004

History
The Innocence Project becomes an independent non-profit organization.
Restoring Freedom
Calvin Johnson is the first exonerated person to join the Innocence Project's Board of Directors.
Calvin Johnson
Calvin Johnson (pictured on the left) was wrongly convicted of a sexual assault and robbery based on eyewitness misidentification and flawed serology. He spent 16 years in prison before the Innocence Project secured DNA testing that proved his innocence. Since his exoneration in 1999, Mr. Johnson has published a book, Exit to Freedom, and served on the board of the Georgia Innocence Project.
Restoring Freedom
Calvin Johnson is the first exonerated person to join the Innocence Project's Board of Directors.
Calvin Johnson (pictured on the left) was wrongly convicted of a sexual assault and robbery based on eyewitness misidentification and flawed serology. He spent 16 years in prison before the Innocence Project secured DNA testing that proved his innocence. Since his exoneration in 1999, Mr. Johnson has published a book, Exit to Freedom, and served on the board of the Georgia Innocence Project.
Calvin Johnson
Transforming Systems
Instituting Post-Conviction DNA Testing
Congress passes and authorizes the Innocence Protection Act and the Kirk Bloodsworth Post-Conviction DNA Testing Program. They establish post-conviction DNA testing for those incarcerated in the federal system and award grants to states to help defray the costs of testing.

2005

Advancing the Movement
Creating the Innocence Network
The Innocence Network, a coalition of innocence organizations that tackle wrongful convictions and is now headquartered at the Innocence Project, is formally established and is the first step toward greatly expanding the reach of the Innocence Project's work and advocacy.
Collaborative Victory
Innocence Network
Advancing the Movement
Creating the Innocence Network
The Innocence Network, a coalition of innocence organizations that tackle wrongful convictions and is now headquartered at the Innocence Project, is formally established and is the first step toward greatly expanding the reach of the Innocence Project's work and advocacy.
Collaborative Victory
Innocence Network
Transforming Systems
Strengthening Science in Texas
The Innocence Project successfully pushes for the creation of the Texas Forensic Science Commission, which investigates allegations of negligence or misconduct that hurt the integrity of forensic analysis and proposes corrective action.
Transforming Systems
Strengthening Science in Texas
The Innocence Project successfully pushes for the creation of the Texas Forensic Science Commission, which investigates allegations of negligence or misconduct that hurt the integrity of forensic analysis and proposes corrective action.
Advancing the Movement
Filming Stories of Exonerees
After Innocence, the first feature film about the exonerated, premieres at the Sundance Film Festival. The documentary features Innocence Project clients Dennis Maher, Calvin Willis, Scott Hornoff, Wilton Dedge, Vincent Moto, Nicholas Yarris, Ronald Cotton, and Herman Atkins.
Advancing the Movement
Filming Stories of Exonerees
After Innocence, the first feature film about the exonerated, premieres at the Sundance Film Festival. The documentary features Innocence Project clients Dennis Maher, Calvin Willis, Scott Hornoff, Wilton Dedge, Vincent Moto, Nicholas Yarris, Ronald Cotton, and Herman Atkins.

2006

Restoring Freedom
Engaging in Social Work
The Innocence Project forms a Social Work team to provide exonerees and freed people with holistic support, including housing, connection to necessary medical services, and supportive counseling. It is the first of its kind to serve wrongfully convicted people post-release.
History
A Wrongful Conviction
An independent arson panel finds that the forensic analysis used to convict Cameron Todd Willingham — who was executed in 2004 for allegedly killing his children in a house fire, and is represented posthumously by the Innocence Project and Goldstein & Orr — was seriously flawed. The fire was, in fact, an accident.
Cameron Todd Willingham with his son on his shoulders
Cameron Todd Willingham always maintained his innocence in the death of his three young daughters and that he was asleep when the fire started.
History
A Wrongful Conviction
An independent arson panel finds that the forensic analysis used to convict Cameron Todd Willingham — who was executed in 2004 for allegedly killing his children in a house fire, and is represented posthumously by the Innocence Project and Goldstein & Orr — was seriously flawed. The fire was, in fact, an accident.
Cameron Todd Willingham always maintained his innocence in the death of his three young daughters and that he was asleep when the fire started.
Cameron Todd Willingham with his son on his shoulders

2007

Restoring Freedom
Innocence Project client Jerry Miller is exonerated after spending more than 24 years in prison for a sexual assault and robbery he did not commit.
DNA icon
The 200th person exonerated through DNA testing.
Jerry Miller
Jerry Miller (pictured center) was largely convicted based on eyewitness misidentification. DNA testing not only exonerated him but also helped identify the actual attacker in his case.
Restoring Freedom
Innocence Project client Jerry Miller is exonerated after spending more than 24 years in prison for a sexual assault and robbery he did not commit.
DNA icon
The 200th person exonerated through DNA testing.
Jerry Miller
Jerry Miller (pictured center) was largely convicted based on eyewitness misidentification. DNA testing not only exonerated him but also helped identify the actual attacker in his case.

2008

History
Fingerprint icon
To ensure that its work is based in science and that its advocacy work is based on research expertise, the Innocence Project forms its Science & Research department.
History
Fingerprint icon
To ensure that its work is based in science and that its advocacy work is based on research expertise, the Innocence Project forms its Science & Research department.

2009

Transforming Systems
Breaking Ground in Forensic Science
The National Academy of Sciences issues a report calling for a comprehensive reform of forensic sciences and increased forensic oversight. The report additionally recommends the creation of an independent, science-based federal entity that would oversee research and evaluation in the forensic sciences, establish scientifically validated standards, and ensure that those standards are applied consistently across the U.S.

2010

Transforming Systems
Proving Innocence
The Innocence Project helps pass a number of innocence-related bills that include those in Arizona, Nebraska, and Oklahoma that urge a review of questionable arson convictions, and one in Rhode Island that creates a taskforce that would make recommendations to improve the accuracy of eyewitness identification.
Law building icon
16 innocence-related bills in 11 states
Collaborative Victory
Transforming Systems
Proving Innocence
The Innocence Project helps pass a number of innocence-related bills that include those in Arizona, Nebraska, and Oklahoma that urge a review of questionable arson convictions, and one in Rhode Island that creates a taskforce that would make recommendations to improve the accuracy of eyewitness identification.
Law building icon
16 innocence-related bills in 11 states
Collaborative Victory

2011

Restoring Freedom
Supporting Exonerees
The Innocence Project establishes the Exoneree Fund, which supports exonerees with necessities such as healthcare and housing once they return home.
Transforming Systems
Eye icon
Preventing Wrongful Convictions Through the Courts
The New Jersey Supreme Court issues a critical decision in State v. Henderson, making changes to the requirements that courts must follow when evaluating eyewitness evidence and when instructing juries on such evidence. The changes are intended to reduce the risk of wrongful convictions.
Transforming Systems
Preventing Wrongful Convictions Through the Courts
Eye icon
The New Jersey Supreme Court issues a critical decision in State v. Henderson, making changes to the requirements that courts must follow when evaluating eyewitness evidence and when instructing juries on such evidence. The changes are intended to reduce the risk of wrongful convictions.

2012

Restoring Freedom
Exoneree Marvin Anderson joins the Innocence Project's Board of Directors.
Marvin Anderson
Marvin Anderson was exonerated in 2002 after the Innocence Project and the Mid-Atlantic Innocence Project won access to DNA testing under a newly passed DNA testing law in Virginia. In addition to joining the Innocence Project's board, he achieved his dream of becoming a firefighter, rising to the position of Chief of the Hanover, Virginia Fire Department. (Image: Kenny Karpov/Innocence Project)
Restoring Freedom
Exoneree Marvin Anderson joins the Innocence Project's Board of Directors.
Marvin Anderson was exonerated in 2002 after the Innocence Project and the Mid-Atlantic Innocence Project won access to DNA testing under a newly passed DNA testing law in Virginia. In addition to joining the Innocence Project's board, he achieved his dream of becoming a firefighter, rising to the position of Chief of the Hanover, Virginia Fire Department. (Image: Kenny Karpov/Innocence Project)
Marvin Anderson
Restoring Freedom
Damon Thibodeaux, represented by the Innocence Project, the American Civil Liberties Union, the Capital Post-Conviction Project, and Fredrikson & Byron, is exonerated after being wrongly convicted of a murder. He spent 15 years on death row, before a re-investigation confirmed his innocence and helped overturn his conviction. Mr. Thibodeaux later became a long haul trucker, earned high school diploma, and spoke in support of wrongful conviction reform.
DNA icon
The 300th person exonerated by DNA and 18th to have served time on death row.
Damon Thibodeaux
Damon Thibodeaux (pictured center) was wrongfully convicted based on an eyewitness misidentification and a false confession. Following his exoneration, he told a TV station that "[the] best part of my day, no matter how good the rest of my day is, is when I wake up every morning and I don't see those bars." (Image: Calhoun McCormick Imaging)
Restoring Freedom
Damon Thibodeaux, represented by the Innocence Project, the American Civil Liberties Union, the Capital Post-Conviction Project, and Fredrikson & Byron, is exonerated after being wrongly convicted of a murder. He spent 15 years on death row, before a re-investigation confirmed his innocence and helped overturn his conviction. Mr. Thibodeaux later became a long haul trucker, earned high school diploma, and spoke in support of wrongful conviction reform.
DNA icon
The 300th person exonerated by DNA and 18th to have served time on death row.
Damon Thibodeaux
Damon Thibodeaux (pictured center) was wrongfully convicted based on an eyewitness misidentification and a false confession. Following his exoneration, he told a TV station that "[the] best part of my day, no matter how good the rest of my day is, is when I wake up every morning and I don't see those bars." (Image: Calhoun McCormick Imaging)
Transforming Systems
Developing Strategic Litigation
The Innocence Project forms its Strategic Litigation department, the first of its kind to tackle wrongful convictions in all stages of criminal litigation. The department works to push judges, prosecutors, and forensic experts to more thoroughly examine forensic science disciplines for scientific validity and reliability. It also helps establish legal precedent in those areas.
Transforming Systems
Developing Strategic Litigation
The Innocence Project forms its Strategic Litigation department, the first of its kind to tackle wrongful convictions in all stages of criminal litigation. The department works to push judges, prosecutors, and forensic experts to more thoroughly examine forensic science disciplines for scientific validity and reliability. It also helps establish legal precedent in those areas.

2013

Transforming Systems
DNA Testing in Oklahoma
Oklahoma passes a post-conviction DNA testing law, allowing DNA testing in violent felony cases and those that result in sentences of 25 years or longer.
Law building icon
50th state to pass a post-conviction DNA testing law.
Transforming Systems
DNA Testing in Oklahoma
Oklahoma passes a post-conviction DNA testing law, allowing DNA testing in violent felony cases and those that result in sentences of 25 years or longer.
Law building icon
50th state to pass a post-conviction DNA testing law.
History
Ensuring Prosecutorial Accountability
Former Williamson County prosecutor Ken Anderson enters a plea to contempt for misconduct in Innocence Project client Michael Morton's wrongful murder conviction. He is the first prosecutor to spend time in jail for misconduct that led to a wrongful conviction.
Michael Morton smiling
During the process of post-conviction DNA litigation, Michael Morton's attorneys obtained documents proving his innocence that prosecutor Ken Anderson had withheld at trial. The Texas Supreme Court ordered a Court of Inquiry that later determined that there was probable cause to believe that Mr. Anderson had violated criminal laws by hiding evidence.
History
Ensuring Prosecutorial Accountability
Former Williamson County prosecutor Ken Anderson enters a plea to contempt for misconduct in Innocence Project client Michael Morton's wrongful murder conviction. He is the first prosecutor to spend time in jail for misconduct that led to a wrongful conviction.
Michael Morton smiling
During the process of post-conviction DNA litigation, Michael Morton's attorneys obtained documents proving his innocence that prosecutor Ken Anderson had withheld at trial. The Texas Supreme Court ordered a Court of Inquiry that later determined that there was probable cause to believe that Mr. Anderson had violated criminal laws by hiding evidence.

2014

Transforming Systems
Recommending Best Practices for Eyewitness Identification
The National Academy of Sciences issues an important report evaluating scientific research on memory and eyewitness identification. The report recommends several best practices endorsed by the Innocence Project, including a blind administration of photos and live lineups during police eyewitness identification procedures, securing confidence statements from eyewitnesses immediately after they've looked at lineups, and more.

2015

Transforming Systems
Eye icon
President Barack Obama signs the Wrongful Conviction Tax Relief Act into law, which excludes wrongfully convicted people from federal taxation on civil damages, restitution, or other monetary awards received as compensation for wrongful conviction.
Transforming Systems
Law building icon
President Barack Obama signs the Wrongful Conviction Tax Relief Act into law, which excludes wrongfully convicted people from federal taxation on civil damages, restitution, or other monetary awards received as compensation for wrongful conviction.
Transforming Systems
Eye icon
Addressing Hair Comparison Analysis
The Department of Justice, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Innocence Project, and National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers publish a revelatory report that the FBI examiners' testimony in at least 90% of trial transcripts the bureau analyzed as part of its microscopic hair comparison analysis review contained erroneous statements.
In 2013, the DOJ and FBI announced that they would collaborate with the Innocence Project and NACDL on a comprehensive review of criminal cases in which FBI Laboratory and testimony included statements made by FBI examiners that were scientifically invalid. The review found that 26 out of 28 FBI examiners had submitted testimony or reports with an erroneous statement. Six years later, in 2019, the FBI published a root cause analysis of how errors in reporting and testimony of microscopic hair comparison analysis persisted through the years.
Transforming Systems
Addressing Hair Comparison Analysis
Eye icon
The Department of Justice, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Innocence Project, and National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers publish a revelatory report that the FBI examiners' testimony in at least 90% of trial transcripts the bureau analyzed as part of its microscopic hair comparison analysis review contained erroneous statements.
In 2013, the DOJ and FBI announced that they would collaborate with the Innocence Project and NACDL on a comprehensive review of criminal cases in which FBI Laboratory and testimony included statements made by FBI examiners that were scientifically invalid. The review found that 26 out of 28 FBI examiners had submitted testimony or reports with an erroneous statement. Six years later, in 2019, the FBI published a root cause analysis of how errors in reporting and testimony of microscopic hair comparison analysis persisted through the years.

2016

History
Assisting Attorneys
The Innocence Project publishes a paper in the Albany Law Review that summarizes the organization's analysis of nationwide DNA exonerations between 1989 and 2014. The paper serves as a citable source for attorneys working on wrongful convictions.
Restoring Freedom
Creating the Exoneree Advisory Council
The Innocence Project forms its first Exoneree Advisory Council in an intentional effort to make exoneree voices and experiences more central in guiding the organization's work.
Pictured below: Exoneree Advisory Council members Marvin Anderson, Cornelius Dupree, Eddie Lowery, and Jerry Miller.
Marvin Anderson
Cornelius Dupree
Eddie Lowery
Jerry Miller
Restoring Freedom
Creating the Exoneree Advisory Council
The Innocence Project forms its first Exoneree Advisory Council in an intentional effort to make exoneree voices and experiences more central in guiding the organization's work.
Pictured below: Exoneree Advisory Council members Marvin Anderson, Cornelius Dupree, Eddie Lowery, and Jerry Miller.
Marvin Anderson
Cornelius Dupree
Eddie Lowery
Jerry Miller
Transforming Systems
Analyzing Forensic Practices
The President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology releases a landmark report evaluating forensic disciplines and calling for additional research that would determine the validity of current and future forensic methods.
Transforming Systems
Analyzing Forensic Practices
The President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology releases a landmark report evaluating forensic disciplines and calling for additional research that would determine the validity of current and future forensic methods.
Transforming Systems
Eye icon
Improving Eyewitness Identification Practices
The Department of Justice recommends that all federal law enforcement agencies and prosecutors adhere to science-based eyewitness identification best practices that have long been advocated by the Innocence Project. The recommendations include those from the 2014 National Academy of Sciences report and in President Barack Obama's Task Force on 21st Century Policing.
Transforming Systems
Improving Eyewitness Identification Practices
Eye icon
The Department of Justice recommends that all federal law enforcement agencies and prosecutors adhere to science-based eyewitness identification best practices that have long been advocated by the Innocence Project. The recommendations include those from the 2014 National Academy of Sciences report and in President Barack Obama's Task Force on 21st Century Policing.

2017

Restoring Freedom
George Perrot, represented by the Innocence Project and the Committee for Public Counsel Services Innocence Program, is exonerated after being wrongfully incarcerated for nearly 30 years for a sexual assault he did not commit.
Magnifying glass icon
The first person to be exonerated based on a hair comparison audit by the FBI and DOJ.
George Perrot
George Perrot's conviction largely rested on FBI hair analysis testimony that proved to be scientifically invalid.
Collaborative Victory
Restoring Freedom
George Perrot, represented by the Innocence Project and the Committee for Public Counsel Services Innocence Program, is exonerated after being wrongfully incarcerated for nearly 30 years for a sexual assault he did not commit.
Magnifying glass icon
The first person to be exonerated based on a hair comparison audit by the FBI and DOJ.
George Perrot
George Perrot's conviction largely rested on FBI hair analysis testimony that proved to be scientifically invalid.
Collaborative Victory
Transforming Systems
Law building icon
Regulating Jailhouse Informants in Texas
Texas Governor Greg Abbott signs a law that regulates jailhouse informants, requires police to record all custodial interrogations for suspects in serious felony cases, and more. The law is one of the most comprehensive in the U.S. in regards to the regulation of jailhouse informants.
Collaborative Victory
Transforming Systems
Regulating Jailhouse Informants in Texas
Law building icon
Texas Governor Greg Abbott signs a law that regulates jailhouse informants, requires police to record all custodial interrogations for suspects in serious felony cases, and more. The law is one of the most comprehensive in the U.S. in regards to the regulation of jailhouse informants.
Collaborative Victory
Restoring Freedom
William Barnhouse, represented by the Innocence Project and the Wrongful Conviction Clinic at Indiana University McKinney, is exonerated after wrongfully spending 25 years in prison for a sexual assault he did not commit.
DNA icon
The 350th person exonerated through DNA evidence
William Barnhouse
William Barnhouse's wrongful conviction was rooted in eyewitness misidentification and a hair "match" that was scientifically unproven.
Collaborative Victory
Restoring Freedom
William Barnhouse, represented by the Innocence Project and the Wrongful Conviction Clinic at Indiana University McKinney, is exonerated after wrongfully spending 25 years in prison for a sexual assault he did not commit.
DNA icon
The 350th person exonerated through DNA evidence
William Barnhouse
William Barnhouse's wrongful conviction was rooted in eyewitness misidentification and a hair "match" that was scientifically unproven.
Collaborative Victory
Advancing the Movement
Landing a Moment in Time
Time Magazine publishes a special edition issue that pays tribute to the Innocence Project as the organization marks 25 years of fighting for innocence.
Time Magazine cover: 'Innocent: The Fight Against Wrongful Convictions'
Advancing the Movement
Landing a Moment in Time
Time Magazine publishes a special edition issue that pays tribute to the Innocence Project as the organization marks 25 years of fighting for innocence.
Time Magazine cover: 'Innocent: The Fight Against Wrongful Convictions'
Advancing the Movement
Educating on Guilty Pleas
The Innocence Project launches GuiltyPleaProblem.org, to surface the fact that innocent people plead guilty to crimes they did not commit.
GuiltyPleaProblem.org is part of a larger effort by the Innocence Project and members of the Innocence Network to expose the excessive dependence on guilty pleas at each stage of the criminal legal system. Research shows that 95% of felony convictions in the U.S. are obtained through guilty pleas and that 65% of the 418 exonerees who pleaded guilty were people of color.
Title text: Why Do Innocent People Plead Guilty To Crimes They Didn't Commit?
Advancing the Movement
Educating on Guilty Pleas
The Innocence Project launches GuiltyPleaProblem.org, to surface the fact that innocent people plead guilty to crimes they did not commit.
GuiltyPleaProblem.org is part of a larger effort by the Innocence Project and members of the Innocence Network to expose the excessive dependence on guilty pleas at each stage of the criminal legal system. Research shows that 95% of felony convictions in the U.S. are obtained through guilty pleas and that 65% of the 418 exonerees who pleaded guilty were people of color.
Title text: Why Do Innocent People Plead Guilty To Crimes They Didn't Commit?
Transforming Systems
Law building icon
Pushing Reforms in New York
Several reforms led by the Innocence Project are adopted in New York, including one that makes the state the first to require criminal trial judges to direct prosecutors to disclose all information in law enforcement's possession that is favorable to criminal defendants. The rule comes as a number of prosecutors have hidden exculpatory evidence from wrongfully convicted people.
Collaborative Victory
Transforming Systems
Pushing Reforms in New York
Law building icon
Several reforms led by the Innocence Project are adopted in New York, including one that makes the state the first to require criminal trial judges to direct prosecutors to disclose all information in law enforcement's possession that is favorable to criminal defendants. The rule comes as a number of prosecutors have hidden exculpatory evidence from wrongfully convicted people.
Collaborative Victory

2018

Restoring Freedom
Speaker and author Yusef Salaam is the third exonerated person to join the Innocence Project's Board of Directors.
Yusef Salaam (pictured center below), along with four other Black and brown teenagers, was wrongly convicted in a case that was rife with a racialized presumption of dangerousness and underscored racial bias within the U.S. criminal legal system. Mr. Salaam has since leveraged his platform to continue advocating for criminal justice reform and prison reform that would especially address the criminal justice system's disparate treatment of Black and brown youth. (Image: Elijah Craig/Innocence Project)
Yusef Salaam
Restoring Freedom
Speaker and author Yusef Salaam is the third exonerated person to join the Innocence Project's Board of Directors.
Yusef Salaam (pictured center below), along with four other Black and brown teenagers, was wrongly convicted in a case that was rife with a racialized presumption of dangerousness and underscored racial bias within the U.S. criminal legal system. Mr. Salaam has since leveraged his platform to continue advocating for criminal justice reform and prison reform that would especially address the criminal justice system's disparate treatment of Black and brown youth. (Image: Elijah Craig/Innocence Project)
Yusef Salaam
Transforming Systems
Law building icon
Pioneering Laws in Wyoming and Kansas
The Innocence Project helps successfully advocate for two major laws: one in Wyoming that gives the wrongfully convicted a way to prove their innocence and one in Kansas that provides state compensation for the wrongfully convicted.
Collaborative Victory
Transforming Systems
Pioneering Laws in Wyoming and Kansas
Law building icon
The Innocence Project helps successfully advocate for two major laws: one in Wyoming that gives the wrongfully convicted a way to prove their innocence and one in Kansas that provides state compensation for the wrongfully convicted.
Collaborative Victory
Transforming Systems
Forming the First Independent Commission
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signs into law legislation that would create the country's first independent statewide commission to address prosecutorial misconduct. The law is backed by lawmakers and a coalition of impacted people and organizations led by Innocence Project client Jeffrey Deskovic's Deskovic Foundation and criminal justice reform group It Could Happen to You.
Collaborative Victory
Transforming Systems
Forming the First Independent Commission
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signs into law legislation that would create the country's first independent statewide commission to address prosecutorial misconduct. The law is backed by lawmakers and a coalition of impacted people and organizations led by Innocence Project client Jeffrey Deskovic's Deskovic Foundation and criminal justice reform group It Could Happen to You.
Collaborative Victory
Advancing the Movement
Marching in Tennessee
Led by exoneree Cornelius Dupree, the Innocence Network organizes the "March for Justice," in Memphis, Tennessee, to honor Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s legacy and connect the innocence movement to the civil rights movement. The march draws over 800 participants, who collectively bring attention to racial injustice and wrongful convictions.
The March for Justice was held on the 50th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s death and in front of the Civil Rights Museum. (Image: Lacy Atkins/Innocence Project)
Collaborative Victory
Advancing the Movement
Marching in Tennessee
Led by exoneree Cornelius Dupree, the Innocence Network organizes the "March for Justice," in Memphis, Tennessee, to honor Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s legacy and connect the innocence movement to the civil rights movement. The march draws over 800 participants, who collectively bring attention to racial injustice and wrongful convictions.
The March for Justice was held on the 50th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s death and in front of the Civil Rights Museum. (Image: Lacy Atkins/Innocence Project)
Collaborative Victory
Transforming Systems
Congress passes a law that provides tax relief for all exonerated people who have received either civil damages or statutory restitution for a wrongful conviction.
Law building icon
Collaborative Victory
Transforming Systems
Law building icon
Congress passes a law that provides tax relief for all exonerated people who have received either civil damages or statutory restitution for a wrongful conviction.
Collaborative Victory
Restoring Freedom
Freeing a Record Number of Exonerees
The Innocence Project helps exonerate a record number of nine innocent people in one year — the most ever in the organization's history. Exonerees include Steven Mark Chaney, whose exoneration is the first criminal court decision to positively cite the 2009 National Academy of Sciences report as proof that bite mark evidence is not rooted in science.
Collaborative Victory
After wrongfully serving 28 years in prison, Steven Mark Chaney became a devoted prison missionary and ministered to incarcerated people. (Image: Lara Solt/Innocence Project)
Steven Mark Chaney
Restoring Freedom
Freeing a Record Number of Exonerees
The Innocence Project helps exonerate a record number of nine innocent people in one year — the most ever in the organization's history. Exonerees include Steven Mark Chaney, whose exoneration is the first criminal court decision to positively cite the 2009 National Academy of Sciences report as proof that bite mark evidence is not rooted in science.
After wrongfully serving 28 years in prison, Steven Mark Chaney became a devoted prison missionary and ministered to incarcerated people. (Image: Lara Solt/Innocence Project)
Collaborative Victory
Steven Mark Chaney

2019

Research
Book icon
Leading in Research
The Innocence Project publishes a paper in Forensic Science International on cognitive bias research in forensic science. The paper ranks among the journal's most downloaded articles.
Collaborative Victory
Research
Leading in Research
Book icon
The Innocence Project publishes a paper in Forensic Science International on cognitive bias research in forensic science. The paper ranks among the journal's most downloaded articles.
Collaborative Victory
Research
Expanding the Exoneree Advisory Council
The Innocence Project's Exoneree Advisory Council inducts its second group of members. Their addition to the council helps better inform the organization's efforts to advance criminal and racial justice reform.
Pictured below: Exoneree Advisory Council members Malcolm Alexander (Image: Lacy Atkins/ Innocence Project), Michelle Murphy (Image: Kenny Karpov/ Innocence Project), Angel Gonzalez (Image: Kenny Karpov/ Innocence Project), and Dewey Bozella.
Malcolm Alexander
Michelle Murphy
Angel Gonzalez
Dewey Bozella
Research
Expanding the Exoneree Advisory Council
The Innocence Project's Exoneree Advisory Council inducts its second group of members. Their addition to the council helps better inform the organization's efforts to advance criminal and racial justice reform.
Pictured below: Exoneree Advisory Council members Malcolm Alexander (Image: Lacy Atkins/ Innocence Project), Michelle Murphy (Image: Kenny Karpov/ Innocence Project), Angel Gonzalez (Image: Kenny Karpov/ Innocence Project), and Dewey Bozella.
Malcolm Alexander
Michelle Murphy
Angel Gonzalez
Dewey Bozella
Restoring Freedom
Christopher Tapp, represented by the Innocence Project, the Idaho Innocence Project, and local counsel John Thomas, is exonerated after he was wrongfully convicted of murder and spent 21 years in prison. Following his exoneration, he, along with fellow Idahoan exoneree Charles Fain, the Innocence Project, and the Idaho Innocence Project, work to push for a compensation law in Idaho.
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The first person to be exonerated based on genealogical DNA testing.
Christopher Tapp
Christopher Tapp (pictured center above) was wrongfully convicted as a result of a false confession and unreliable witness testimony. (Image: Otto Kitsinger/AP Images for the Innocence Project)
Collaborative Victory
Restoring Freedom
Christopher Tapp, represented by the Innocence Project, the Idaho Innocence Project, and local counsel John Thomas, is exonerated after he was wrongfully convicted of murder and spent 21 years in prison. Following his exoneration, he, along with fellow Idahoan exoneree Charles Fain, the Innocence Project, and the Idaho Innocence Project, work to push for a compensation law in Idaho.
DNA icon
The first person to be exonerated based on genealogical DNA testing.
Christopher Tapp
Christopher Tapp (pictured center above) was wrongfully convicted as a result of a false confession and unreliable witness testimony. (Image: Otto Kitsinger/AP Images for the Innocence Project)
Collaborative Victory
Restoring Freedom
Huwe Burton, represented by the Innocence Project, the Northwestern Pritzker School of Law's Center on Wrongful Convictions, and the Rutgers Law School's Criminal and Youth Justice Clinic, is exonerated after wrongfully spending 19 years in prison for a murder he did not commit.
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The first person whose conviction is vacated based on new science and scholarship on false confessions.
Huwe Burton
Following his exoneration, Huwe Burton was instrumental in the passage of a 2021 Oregon law that bans police deception in the interrogation of minors. (Image: Sameer Abdel-Khalek/Innocence Project)
Collaborative Victory
Restoring Freedom
Huwe Burton, represented by the Innocence Project, the Northwestern Pritzker School of Law's Center on Wrongful Convictions, and the Rutgers Law School's Criminal and Youth Justice Clinic, is exonerated after wrongfully spending 19 years in prison for a murder he did not commit.
DNA icon
The first person whose conviction is vacated based on new science and scholarship on false confessions.
Huwe Burton
Following his exoneration, Huwe Burton was instrumental in the passage of a 2021 Oregon law that bans police deception in the interrogation of minors. (Image: Sameer Abdel-Khalek/Innocence Project)
Collaborative Victory

2020

Advancing the Movement
Documenting Wrongful Convictions
Netflix releases The Innocence Files, a nine-episode documentary that features the cases of wrongfully exonerated people and delves into the work of the Innocence Project, Pennsylvania Innocence Project, Northern California Innocence Project, and the WMU-Cooley Innocence Project at the Thomas M. Cooley School of Law.
Advancing the Movement
Documenting Wrongful Convictions
Netflix releases The Innocence Files, a nine-episode documentary that features the cases of wrongfully exonerated people and delves into the work of the Innocence Project, Pennsylvania Innocence Project, Northern California Innocence Project, and the WMU-Cooley Innocence Project at the Thomas M. Cooley School of Law.
Advancing the Movement
Growing the Advocate Community
Amid racial tumult and growing calls for criminal justice reform, the Innocence Project's digital community grows more than eightfold compared to four years prior— from 368,000 supporters to 3.3 million. The Innocence Project, members of the Innocence Network, and the larger innocence movement also gain significant momentum following a successful outreach effort on Wrongful Conviction Day.
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+3 million supporters
In the wake of mass protests following the murders of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and countless other Black people, the number of community members who signed up to join the Innocence Project in advocating for policy change grew to 928,000.
Advancing the Movement
Growing the Advocate Community
Amid racial tumult and growing calls for criminal justice reform, the Innocence Project's digital community grows more than eightfold compared to four years prior— from 368,000 supporters to 3.3 million. The Innocence Project, members of the Innocence Network, and the larger innocence movement also gain significant momentum following a successful outreach effort on Wrongful Conviction Day.
Fist icon
+3 million supporters
In the wake of mass protests following the murders of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and countless other Black people, the number of community members who signed up to join the Innocence Project in advocating for policy change grew to 928,000.
Transforming Systems
Ensuring Police Accountability
As a result of George Floyd's murder and to advance racial justice, the Innocence Project makes police accountability a priority, including eliminating or reforming qualified immunity and making police disciplinary records publicly available.
Transforming Systems
Ensuring Police Accountability
As a result of George Floyd's murder and to advance racial justice, the Innocence Project makes police accountability a priority, including eliminating or reforming qualified immunity and making police disciplinary records publicly available.
Transforming Systems
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Securing Policy Wins in the Pandemic
In the wake of a global pandemic and notwithstanding a shutdown of state legislatures across the U.S, the Innocence Project works to help pass more than 10 major reforms, including laws in Oklahoma and Maryland that protect against unreliable jailhouse informant testimony and a law in Nebraska that permits experts to testify about the unreliability of eyewitness identification.
Collaborative Victory
Transforming Systems
Securing Policy Wins in the Pandemic
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In the wake of a global pandemic and notwithstanding a shutdown of state legislatures across the U.S, the Innocence Project works to help pass more than 10 major reforms, including laws in Oklahoma and Maryland that protect against unreliable jailhouse informant testimony and a law in Nebraska that permits experts to testify about the unreliability of eyewitness identification.
Collaborative Victory

2021

Restoring Freedom
A Day of Multiple Justice Victories
Pervis Payne, who has strong claims of innocence, is removed from death row on the same day Muhammad Aziz and Khalil Islam are exonerated in the assassination of Malcolm X. The victories are the result of the hard work led by the men's families and legal teams, Black community leaders and activists on the ground, and support from the Innocence Project.
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When I was 13, I sat in the court and I heard the judge sentence him to death by way of the electric chair. Today, I sat in the same court and I got an opportunity at 47 years old to hear the judge say that Pervis Payne’s death sentence has been canceled. If that’s not celebratory, I don't know what is, so I am so grateful today.
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Rolanda Holman, Pervis Payne's sister
Collaborative Victory
Supporters in New York City rally together to free Pervis Payne from death row. (Image: Elijah Craig/Innocence Project)
Woman holding 'Free Pervis Payne' sign
Restoring Freedom
A Day of Multiple Justice Victories
Pervis Payne, who has strong claims of innocence, is removed from death row on the same day Muhammad Aziz and Khalil Islam are exonerated in the assassination of Malcolm X. The victories are the result of the hard work led by the men's families and legal teams, Black community leaders and activists on the ground, and support from the Innocence Project.
Open quote icon
When I was 13, I sat in the court and I heard the judge sentence him to death by way of the electric chair. Today, I sat in the same court and I got an opportunity at 47 years old to hear the judge say that Pervis Payne’s death sentence has been canceled. If that’s not celebratory, I don't know what is, so I am so grateful today.
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Rolanda Holman, Pervis Payne's sister
Collaborative Victory
Supporters in New York City rally together to free Pervis Payne from death row. (Image: Elijah Craig/Innocence Project)
Woman holding 'Free Pervis Payne' sign
History
Prosecutor Disbarred
Former Dallas County prosecutor Richard Jackson, who withheld exculpatory evidence in the prosecution of Dennis Allen and Stanley Mozee, becomes the fourth prosecutor in the nation to be disbarred for misconduct. At the time of his disbarment, just 4% of prosecutors whose misconduct led to a wrongful conviction had been professionally or personally disciplined.
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To be honest, I believed in our system. I did not know there were individuals who were engaging in misconduct, who would do this until it actually happened to me. I believed that the system was in place for everybody and that it would give everyone the opportunity at real justice. I really believed that the system would work.
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Dennis Allen
Stanley Mozee (pictured left) and Dennis Allen (pictured center) were both wrongfully convicted of murder and sentenced to life in prison in 2000. They were exonerated in 2019, based on DNA testing that excluded them from key evidence at the crime scene. (Image: Lara Solt)
Mozee and Dennis Allen
History
Prosecutor Disbarred
Former Dallas County prosecutor Richard Jackson, who withheld exculpatory evidence in the prosecution of Dennis Allen and Stanley Mozee, becomes the fourth prosecutor in the nation to be disbarred for misconduct. At the time of his disbarment, just 4% of prosecutors whose misconduct led to a wrongful conviction had been professionally or personally disciplined.
Open quote icon
To be honest, I believed in our system. I did not know there were individuals who were engaging in misconduct, who would do this until it actually happened to me. I believed that the system was in place for everybody and that it would give everyone the opportunity at real justice. I really believed that the system would work.
Close quote icon
Dennis Allen
Stanley Mozee (pictured left) and Dennis Allen (pictured center) were both wrongfully convicted of murder and sentenced to life in prison in 2000. They were exonerated in 2019, based on DNA testing that excluded them from key evidence at the crime scene. (Image: Lara Solt)
Mozee and Dennis Allen
Transforming Systems
Achieving Reforms Across the Country
The Innocence Project helps secure 21 state-based reforms, which include new laws in Oregon and Illinois that ban police from lying to youth during interrogation (a tactic that has disproportionately impacted Black, Indigenous, and people of color), a historic law in Maryland that prevents the misuse of genetic information, and an end to qualified immunity in New Mexico.
Collaborative Victory
Transforming Systems
Achieving Reforms Across the Country
The Innocence Project helps secure 21 state-based reforms, which include new laws in Oregon and Illinois that ban police from lying to youth during interrogation (a tactic that has disproportionately impacted Black, Indigenous, and people of color), a historic law in Maryland that prevents the misuse of genetic information, and an end to qualified immunity in New Mexico.
Collaborative Victory

2022

Transforming Systems
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Record Funding for Grant Programs
President Joe Biden signs into law a spending package that allocates a record $24 million to the Wrongful Conviction Review grant program and the Kirk Bloodsworth Post-Conviction DNA Testing grant program. This substantial funding increase will expand access to post-conviction representation, investigation, and forensic testing.
Collaborative Victory
Transforming Systems
Record Funding for Grant Programs
Fingerprint icon
President Joe Biden signs into law a spending package that allocates a record $24 million to the Wrongful Conviction Review grant program and the Kirk Bloodsworth Post-Conviction DNA Testing grant program. This substantial funding increase will expand access to post-conviction representation, investigation, and forensic testing.
Collaborative Victory
History
Looking Forward
The Innocence Project reaffirms its commitment to three foundational pillars — Restoring Freedom, Transforming Systems, and Advancing the Movement — by widening exoneration efforts, reinforcing scientific initiatives, tackling the racial bias inherent in wrongful convictions, and more.
History
Looking Forward
The Innocence Project reaffirms its commitment to three foundational pillars — Restoring Freedom, Transforming Systems, and Advancing the Movement — by widening exoneration efforts, reinforcing scientific initiatives, tackling the racial bias inherent in wrongful convictions, and more.
Introduction collage photo credits, from left to right: Row 1: Larry Busacca for AP Images/Innocence Project, Christopher Lee/Innocence Project, Courtesy of Innocence Project staff, Courtesy of Innocence Project staff / Row 2: Mary Kang/Innocence Project, Sameer Abdel-Khalek/Innocence Project, Kenny Karpov/Innocence Project / Row 3: Kevin Monko/Innocence Project, Courtesy of Innocence Project staff, Elijah Craig/Innocence Project / Row 4: Courtesy of Innocence Project staff, Courtesy of Innocence Project staff, Jeenah Moon/Innocence Project