Frequently Asked Questions

1. How does NEIP select which cases it will pursue?
2. Once selected, what is the process by which NEIP pursues exoneration?
3. How long does it take to prove someone innocent?
4. Must an inmate be the one to write the initial correspondence letter, or can it come from someone else?
5. Will NEIP reopen a case once it has been closed?
6. Is NEIP affiliated with or a regional branch of the Innocence Project?
7. How does NEIP support itself?
8. What are the leading causes of wrongful convictions?

1. How does NEIP select which cases it will pursue?

To be considered by NEIP for representation, an inmate must first submit an Initial Screening Questionnaire.

2. Once selected, what is the process by which NEIP pursues exoneration?

NEIP attorneys and personnel screen and respond to requests for legal assistance from inmates, review completed questionnaires, supervise law students as they conduct initial case review and investigation, and secure legal representation through the NEIP network of attorneys for inmates who are seeking to vacate their convictions through scientific testing.

3. How long does it take to prove someone innocent?

A case can take anywhere between two to three years and up to a decade to complete litigation. There is no way to predict a time frame. The amount of time needed to complete a case rests on the individual facts and circumstances of the case.

4. Must an inmate be the one to write the initial correspondence letter, or can it come from someone else?

Anyone can request legal assistance from NEIP for a wrongful conviction on behalf of an inmate. Whether it is the inmate, a family member or concerned individual, NEIP will start a file for an inmate when we receive the initial correspondence letter. However, once NEIP receives a request, all future communications will be directly with the inmate.

5. Will NEIP reopen a case once it has been closed?

NEIP will reconsider a case if presented with information or evidence that was previously unavailable. Because of the recent expansion of our mission, people who claim factual innocence and who previously submitted questionnaires but were denied because of a lack of DNA evidence in their case are encouraged to contact us again.

6. Is NEIP affiliated with or a regional branch of the Innocence Project?

NEIP is a member of the international Innocence Network of innocence projects.  Although each of these projects was modeled after the Innocence Project founded at Cardozo Law School in New York in 1992, NEIP is an independent organization and not a regional branch of the Innocence Project.

7. How does NEIP support itself?

NEIP’s work is primarily dependent on private donations.  Goodwin Procter LLP donates paralegal support and NEIP has received some funding through grants.  We are extremely grateful for every donation, which go toward our efforts to free the innocent.  If you would like to assist NEIP financially, please refer to our Donations page.

8. What are the leading causes of wrongful convictions?

© 2011 New England Innocence Project