Innocence Project New Orleans

Innocence Project New Orleans (IPNO) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit law office providing investigation and representation for innocent prisoners serving life sentences in Louisiana, the state with the highest incarceration rate and one of the highest rates of proven wrongful conviction in the country. IPNO has received approximately 3,000 requests for assistance from prisoners and has freed 15 innocent men from prison since its inception in 2001. Exonerated IPNO clients served a total of 261 years in prison. IPNO has one of the highest success rates of any innocence project in the country. Because in Louisiana, evidence is frequently destroyed in the years after trial, IPNO focuses not only on cases in which DNA can prove innocence, but on cases in which no such short cut to exoneration exists. In those cases IPNO employs the traditional investigation methods developed in capital case litigation and applies them to non-DNA post conviction innocence cases. IPNO is the only organization in the state providing representation to innocent prisoners in post conviction. Post conviction proceedings are the point at which the state generally denies a prisoner the right to a lawyer, but those proceedings are the first point at which a prisoner can prove innocence.

IPNO assists its exonerated clients after their release with their transition to life in the world outside prison with the most comprehensive exoneree advocacy program of any innocence project in the country. IPNO is host to the nation's first exoneree-run transitional organization, Resurrection After Exoneration, which has three staff and runs the first exoneree housing facility and resource center in the country.

IPNO also conducts extensive outreach to the public about wrongful conviction in Louisiana. IPNO staff members frequently conduct talks in schools, colleges, churches and community groups and its senior staff members have testified before the Louisiana and Mississippi legislatures and in court proceedings around the state. IPNO works with policy makers around the state to develop best practices in law enforcement agencies in Louisiana that will serve to prevent wrongful convictions in future, in addition to working to reform practices that deny innocent prisoners access to courts and evidence.

IPNO is a freestanding organization with five full time staff-attorneys, two investigators, two paralegals, one project manager and other support staff. IPNO's staff work cases from start (application form) to finish (exoneration), aided by a constellation of volunteers including prisoners, local attorneys, and law students. At our current staffing level, IPNO has 15-20 cases in representation (active litigation) and approximately 30 in Stage 2 investigation. Funding for IPNO is provided by the Louisiana Public Defender Board, the Louisiana Bar Foundation, the Ford Foundation, Echoing Green, Equal Justice Works and the Mississippi Bar Foundation.

Contact information:

Innocence Project New Orleans
Director: Jee Park
4051 Ulloa St.
New Orleans, LA 70119
(504) 943-1902 (office)
(504) 943-1905 (fax)

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