FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
ABOUT THE GEORGIA INNOCENCE PROJECT
What does the Georgia Innocence Project do?
The Georgia Innocence Project (GIP) performs complicated work with a simple goal: to free innocent people from prison. GIP's mission is to free the wrongly prosecuted through DNA testing, to advance practices that minimize the chances that others suffer the same fate, to educate the public that wrongful convictions are not rare or isolated events, and to help the exonerated rebuild their lives.
How does GIP accomplish this mission?
GIP investigates criminal cases in Georgia and Alabama where DNA testing not available at trial might prove actual innocence. If a compelling claim of innocence exists and the DNA evidece from the crime scene is still available, GIP litigates to have the evidence tested. GIP also works to effect public policy that will minimize the chances of wrongful conviction and educates law students and lawyers -- through its intern and outreach programs -- in best practices that can reduce the chance of wrongful conviction. GIP's Life After Exoneration program assists its clients in rebuilding their lives by providing counseling, medical care, and other transitional services at no charge.
Is GIP the Georgia chapter of the Innocence Project?
No. There are more than 50 Innocence organizations around the globe, and all are independent. However, all belong to the Innocence Network, a group formed to share ideas and resources among Innocence organizations.
Is GIP an anti-death penalty organization?
GIP does not take a position on the death penalty as policy. If a death penalty case meets our screening criteria, GIP will consider taking the case. At present, GIP has no clients who are facing the death penalty.
What kinds of cases does GIP take?
GIP takes post-conviction cases in Georgia and Alabama where DNA or other forensic evidence was collected at the crime scene and where the identity of the perpetrator could be in question.
What kinds of cases does GIP not take?
GIP does not take cases in which the defendant has or is still eligible for free legal representation, i.e., before conviction or before direct appeal. GIP also does not take cases where identity is not at issue (the victim knew the perpetrator and identified him/her as such) and where there was no DNA evidence at the crime scene. For cases outside of Georgia or Alabama, please see our Links page to get contact information for other Innocence organizations.
How do I get GIP to look at a case?
All inquiries for assistance must come from the defendant in writing. For further instructions, please see our "Need Help?" page (also available in Spanish). Family members of defendants are asked not to contact GIP but rather to send the information to the inmate on how to write GIP. This is to insure attorney/client privilege and to keep the process as efficient as possible. GIP promises a response to an inmate's first letter within 90 days.
How long does it take to prove someone innocent?
There is no way to predict a time frame. It depends on several factors, but exoneration is a process that always takes years -- not days or months.
How does GIP support itself?
GIP operates solely on revenue from grants, fundraising events, and private donations. GIP receives no government funds and operates out of donated office space. If you would like to assist GIP financially, please see our Donations page. There are many ways to help. GIP is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation, so all monetary donations are tax deductible.
How can I help GIP?
If you are an attorney and would like to volunteer, please email GIP Executive Director Aimee Maxwell at email@example.com. If you are a law student and would like to serve as an intern, please see our Intern page. Due to the very small size of our staff and office, unfortunately we cannot accommodate non-legal volunteers except for very specific projects. A list of our current volunteer needs is here.