About the Innocence Movement
The first innocence organization was founded in the United States in the 1990s. It was dedicated to redressing cases of wrongful convictions through DNA testing.
There are now more than 60 Innocence Organizations in the US, based in law schools, law firms etc. More than 3,000 individuals have been exonerated since 1989 in the US by innocence organizations and other innocence efforts using DNA testing, other scientific testing, examination of confessions and so on.
Research into cases exonerated by DNA revealed the contributors to wrongful convictions. This led to the reform of the investigation procedures or the abolition of the death penalty in some states. Recent developments include an increase in the number of district attorney’s offices across the US with divisions that work to prevent, identify, and correct false convictions (CIU, CRU).
Organizations with same goals have been forming around the world, in Asia, Europe, and South America.
Innocence Project Japan was founded as the Japanese version of an innocence organization
What We Do
When Innocence Project Japan receives applications for assistance from defendants, prison inmates (including former inmates), their families and supporters, defense attorneys, and others, it reviews whether it is possible to prove through DNA and other scientific testing that the case was wrongfully accused or convicted. During this review, our reviewers (lawyers) may consult with scientists and legal scholars who are also our members. After discussing with other lawyers and experts about the case, and when the criteria for assistance are met, a decision will be made to assist the case. We use our network of scientists to make inquiries to our collaborating scientists, refer the case to experts, and provide advice regarding scientific evidence. In some cases, the volunteer attorneys for IPJ may file a request for a retrial. Assistance from Innocence Project Japan is free of charge.
Innocence Project Japan helps the defendants/former defendants and defense attorneys free of charge.