Cases Innocence Project of Texas Can Accept

The National Registry of Exonerations estimates that there are between 3,000-9,000 individuals in Texas in prison today due to wrongful convictions. While it’s our strongest desire to assist in the release and exoneration of every single one of those individuals, there are limitations both legally and financially that make that difficult.

 

We Review Cases That Meet The Following Requirements:

  • You must be claiming actual innocence. Either no crime occurred or a crime did happen but you did not have a role in it.
  • Your conviction is a felony. We do not review misdemeanor cases.
  • Your conviction took place in a Texas court.
  • You have been convicted and have completed your direct appeals.

We Are Unable To Assist With:

  • General requests for legal help
  • Pending criminal cases where the defendant has not yet been convicted
  • Requests for educational materials
  • Any other legal matters that do not involve a claim of actual innocence

How To Submit A Case

With a clear understanding of the cases we review, how we determine which to pursue, and what the process looks like, if you’d like to submit a case please write us a letter and include the convicted person’s Texas Department of Criminal Justice number.

The letter should include a brief description of the case with specific information that you believe supports an actual innocence claim.

If the case meets the requirements above and describes a reasonable possibility of actual innocence, we will be in touch to collect more information and continue the review process. Please note, due to the high volume of requests we receive, it can take up to several months for you to receive a reply.

Please Note: We do not accept requests via email, phone, or fax.

Please mail case review requests to:
300 Burnett St., Suite 160
Fort Worth, TX 76102

Case Review Process

We read and respond to every written request for help that we receive. Our goal is to determine whether the case meets our acceptance criteria and whether we can prove innocence. Given the complexity of innocence cases and our current caseload, the process from the initial request for assistance through litigation often takes several years.

01 / Application

For those applicants claiming innocence, we will send them an intake questionnaire to complete. We will review their answers, and if we have questions, we will send a follow-up letter asking for further information. If it appears that they meet our criteria, we send them a full application and a release of information form. Upon receipt of the completed application and release, we gather preliminary information and assess the case to determine whether it should advance to the screening stage. The application stage can take a year or longer to complete.

02 / Document Review

During the document review stage, we assess how and why the person was convicted, and how we might prove the person’s innocence. First, we collect, review and summarize the official, publicly available facts and law associated with the case. During this stage, we often file open records requests and gather information from prosecutors, police, crime labs, and courts. We review everything and assess whether we should proceed with further investigation.

03 / Investigation

In this stage, additional steps are taken to determine the person’s innocence. These steps can include locating biological evidence for DNA testing and re-interviewing eyewitnesses. When necessary, professional investigators may be contracted with to provide assistance. If sufficient evidence is discovered demonstrating a compelling case for actual innocence, we will proceed with representation.

04 / Representation

During the representation stage, we serve as the person’s legal representation or as part of the person’s legal team. When feasible, we work with local district attorney’s offices and conviction integrity units to secure the person’s release and/or exoneration. We exhaust every legal avenue to exonerate our clients.

Systemic Failures Have Wrongly
Imprisoned Thousands of
Innocent Texans.

The Generosity of Their Fellow Citizens Can Provide Them
The Freedom They Deserve.

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