Apply for Legal Help

Washington Innocence Project provides free legal and investigative services to wrongfully convicted people whose innocence can be demonstrated through DNA testing or other newly discovered evidence.

Even if you don’t qualify for Washington Innocence Project’s legal assistance, you can find many other resources.

THE INNOCENCE NETWORK

If you are looking for legal representation for a wrongful conviction outside of Washington State, there are innocence organizations across the country and worldwide that can help. The Washington Innocence Project is just one of 69 organizations that make up the Innocence Network. Use their directory to find your local organization

INNOCENCE NETWORK DIRECTORY

Qualifications

We select cases based on a number of factors. In order to be considered for assistance, applicants must meet the following criteria:

  • Be wrongly convicted of a state or federal felony crime in Washington State.
  • No longer have a right to appointed counsel.
  • Be unable to afford counsel.
  • Have completed their direct appeals process.
  • Have a claim of innocence that can be proven through DNA testing or other newly discovered evidence.
  • Have no involvement in the crime.We do not take cases where the claim is an affirmative defense, such as consensual sex, self-defense, or accidental death.

Steps to Apply

  1. The person seeking assistance must submit an Application for Assistance.
  2. Complete the application as fully as possible to speed up our review and evaluation process.
  3. If you require special assistance to complete the application, please call (206) 363-9479.
  4. Submit applications by mail. We do not accept email or phone applications.
  5. Please be aware that our initial investigation can take years to complete.

The completed application should be mailed directly to:

Washington Innocence Project
PO Box 85869
Seattle, WA 98145

Send an Application to Someone

Complete this form and we will mail an Application for Assistance directly to your loved one in a Washington State prison.

Complete Form

Printable Application for Assistance

Download Application

Formulario Para Solicitar Ayuda

Descargar Formulario

Frequently Asked Questions

How do people request assistance?

An innocent person serving time for a Washington State felony conviction may submit an application for assistance, available on our Get Help page. Family and friends may also request that we send an application directly to an innocent person serving time for a Washington State felony conviction.

For assistance related to a conviction outside Washington State, find the Innocence Network organization for your jurisdiction.

Can I submit an application on behalf of someone else?

Yes, but we always prefer receiving applications in the wrongfully convicted person’s own words. If it is easier for them to have assistance filling out an application, you can help. But, the person who was wrongfully convicted must sign the releases at the end of the application for us to begin our review.

If you have a loved one in a Washington State prison who has a claim of innocence, you can mail them an application through our site. Simply complete the application request form available on our Get Help page and we will mail the application directly to them.

I mailed you an application. Why haven’t I heard anything?

You should receive a letter acknowledging receipt within 90 days. After that, the time and format of our response varies from case to case. Rest assured that we are evaluating your case to assess the best strategy for moving forward.

Can I talk to someone at Washington Innocence Project about my application or the application of a loved one?

Unfortunately, no. Washington Innocence Project has a small staff and does not have the resources to permit individual consults. If we have questions about an application, we will contact the prisoner directly.

How does Washington Innocence Project decide which cases to take?

To be considered for assistance, innocent people in Washington State who are wrongfully serving time in prison must meet the following criteria:

  • Be wrongfully convicted of a state or federal felony crime in Washington State.
  • No longer have a right to appointed counsel.
  • Be unable to afford counsel.
  • Have completed their direct appeals process.
  • Have a claim of actual innocence that can be proven through DNA testing or other newly discovered evidence.
  • Have no involvement in the crime whatsoever. We do not take cases where the claim is an affirmative defense, such as consensual sex, self-defense, or accidental death.

I meet all of your criteria. Why did my application get rejected?

Unfortunately, due to limited resources and strict legal constraints, we cannot pursue every case that meets the criteria listed on our website. Washington Innocence Project’s decision to accept or reject an application is not a judgment on the guilt or innocence of an applicant or a comment on the fairness of the legal proceeding.

Does Washington Innocence Project only take cases with DNA evidence?

Some innocence organizations, such as the Innocence Project in NYC, focus exclusively on cases with DNA evidence. Washington Innocence Project reviews, investigates, and litigates cases in Washington State with any newly discovered evidence, whether or not that evidence allows for DNA testing.

I don’t live in Washington. Who do I contact for information about innocence help in my state?

Washington Innocence Project is only able to provide legal assistance to innocent prisoners in Washington State. There are innocence organizations who help free the innocent around the world. The Innocence Network is a great resource to locate an organization in your state.

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