The Wisconsin Innocence Project represents prison inmates who claim to be actually innocent of the crimes for which they are incarcerated. The Project is unable to represent all prisoners with claims of innocence; the Project is able to become involved in only a select number of cases in which there appears to be a significant chance that substantial new evidence can be found to prove innocence. Generally, the best type of evidence for this purpose is new physical evidence, such as blood, hair, or semen, that can be subjected to scientific testing, such as DNA testing. In some cases, where scientific testing was performed previously with inconclusive results, new technologies may be available now to obtain conclusive results. Other types of new evidence may be eyewitness accounts, or recantations from victims or witnesses, if such recantation can be supported by other new evidence.
How to Apply for Assistance
The first step in submitting a case for the Wisconsin Innocence Project's review is to complete the Claims of Innocence Assessment Form (below) and to mail it to the Wisconsin Innocence Project. Please do not call or e-mail the Wisconsin Innocence Project to request assistance or inquire about the status of your request. Instead, send any correspondence to the address below:
Wisconsin Innocence Project
Frank J. Remington Center
University of Wisconsin Law School
975 Bascom Mall
Madison, WI 53706-1399
Claims of Innocence Application Form
- Application form (English) in PDF format (requires Adobe Acrobat Reader)
- Application form (Spanish) in PDF format (requires Adobe Acrobat Reader)
How We Select Cases:
The criteria for selecting cases include the following:
- Case Location
- The Wisconsin Innocence Project primarily takes cases from individuals wrongly convicted in state and federal courts in Wisconsin.
- Under extraordinary circumstances, the Project will consider cases from the following neighboring states in the Upper Midwest: Minnesota, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, and Michigan.
- The Project will consider cases from outside this region only if DNA evidence is available that can be used to prove innocence, or if there are similarly compelling and exceptional circumstances, AND if there is no innocence project available to provide assistance in the inmate's state.
- New Evidence
- The inmate must be making a claim of innocence based on substantial new evidence that has not been considered previously by a court.
- Appeals Completed
- The defendant must have been convicted and all direct appeals must be exhausted or the time for filing a direct appeal must have passed. If a prisoner still has time to file a direct appeal, he or she should exercise the right to appointed counsel through the courts of the public defender system.
- No Other Counsel
- The inmate must not be currently represented by another attorney in his of her criminal case, or have the right to appointed counsel in the case.