Mid-Atlantic Innocence Project
WISH LIST: $100: a staff investigator's trip to visit a prospective client; $500: copies of necessary courthouse files; $5000: DNA testing in one exoneration case
In the past twenty years, 272 prisoners have been exonerated based on DNA evidence alone. As the new technology developed, several DC-area attorneys realized that no regional organization advocated for those who had been wrongly convicted – and who at last had the tools to prove it. The Mid-Atlantic Innocence Project was created to speak for them. With a focus on DC, Maryland, and Virginia, MAIP litigates innocence claims (which first undergo rigorous screening and investigation), representing the prisoner in court or filing a clemency petition. This process is crucial, not only to achieve justice for those wrongly imprisoned and return them to their families, but also to protect the public from perpetrators who are still at large. Overturning convictions is, however, profoundly difficult; so MAIP also leads a policy reform effort, aiming to educate the public and enact laws that would prevent wrongful convictions before they happen. MAIP does not advocate for lenient sentences or prison reform. Its sole (and essential) focus is speaking for the innocent when, as often happens, no one else can.