We launched Oregon Innocence Project (OIP) in 2014 with a mission to exonerate the wrongfully convicted, train law students, and promote legal reforms aimed at preventing wrongful convictions.
The extraordinary number — not to overlook the shocking stories — of exonerations throughout the United States have proven that our criminal justice system is systemically flawed and that reform is needed to help prevent future wrongful convictions.
Oregon is not exempt from error. Oregon, like every other state, is susceptible to the same causes of wrongful convictions, such as mistaken eyewitness identification, false confessions, and invalidated or improper forensic science. According to the National Registry of Exonerations, there have been 17 exonerations in Oregon. Without a program in Oregon that focuses solely on wrongful convictions, there would be no certain way to know whether any of the people currently incarcerated here should in fact be freed.
OIP is the only project of its kind in Oregon whose sole mission is to actively track inmates' claims of innocence, investigate those claims, test DNA and other scientific evidence, and litigate where appropriate. As well as securing the release of people who have been wrongfully convicted, we provide an outstanding educational experience for students who work with us.
We collaborate with all stakeholders (district attorneys, the defense bar, policymakers, police, victims' rights groups, forensic scientists, laboratory managers, and other practitioners working in the criminal justice system). Our goal is to build support for comprehensive criminal justice reform to improve eyewitness identification, interrogation practices, discovery practices, and other policies that do not serve to protect the innocent or punish the guilty.
OIP is administered by Oregon Justice Resource Center, a 501(c)(3) organization. To support our work, donate now.
How to submit a request for assistance
We provide pro bono (free of charge) legal assistance to inmates who assert factual innocence and where there is the possibility of proving innocence.
Our office only takes cases from Oregon. If you or your loved one are in another state please visit the Innocence Network website to find a list of other organizations that may be able to help you.
In order to submit a case for our consideration, you must complete and sign the case screening questionnaire. The questionnaire requests specific documents that must also be signed and submitted before the review process can begin. Do not submit any transcripts or additional documents unless specifically requested by us.
Completed questionnaires and supporting documents can be mailed to us at:
Oregon Innocence Project
PO Box 5248
Portland, Oregon 97208
Please understand that we receive many requests every week and it will take some time for us to respond to the application or inquiry. The applicant will be notified when we have received the questionnaire and also when it is determined whether or not the case is one we can take. Otherwise, OIP does not correspond with applicants about their case unless we decide we need additional information to screen the case. If OIP does begin work on a case, project staff or volunteers will contact the prisoner directly. If OIP decides to represent an individual, it will provide him or her with a written representation agreement to be signed by that individual.
Please do not call our office to inquire about the status of an application.
Steve Wax, Legal Director
Brittney Plesser, Staff Attorney