Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2022, $495,204)
Making an Exoneree (MAE) is an extraordinary and unprecedented program. It is distinct from traditional Innocence Project clinics in three main respects: first, it works primarily with undergraduate students (rather than law students); second, those students focus on conducting a comprehensive reinvestigation of cases (rather than legal filings); third, the program seeks to generate public attention (rather than avoid publicity) to support very difficult cases that have usually reached legal dead ends and have limited remaining options. This innovative approach has already contributed to three exonerations and prison releases, with several more likely to come this year.
Receiving the BJA FY 2022 ROL/WCR grant would allow the MAE program to hire much-needed additional support staff, while also contributing to the growing program costs for student travel, website hosting, social media promotion, expert consultations, and potential evidence testing. The BJA grant would also allow us to devote more sustained attention to legal partnerships between MAE cases and pro bono law firms. In short, the BJA grant would allow the Making an Exoneree program to evolve from an innovative and successful experiment into a solid and efficient institution that will continue to restore freedom to the wrongfully convicted.