The North Carolina Center on Actual Innocence is an independent non-profit organization. The Center was founded in 2000 in order to heighten communication and efficiency between the Innocence Projects at Duke University School of Law and University of North Carolina School of Law. The Center has since assisted in establishing two additional Innocence Projects at the law schools of North Carolina Central University and Campbell University. Students from UNC-Chapel Hill’s School of Journalism and Mass Communication also work on innocence claims.
The Center’s mission is to identify, investigate and advance credible claims of innocence made by inmates convicted of felonies in North Carolina. The Center’s secondary mission is to educate policymakers, law and journalism students, the public, the media, and the legal/law enforcement communities about systemic problems in the criminal justice system that lead to wrongful convictions, as well as the emerging solutions to those problems.
Our staff screens all inmate inquiries and acts as a resource for student volunteers and faculty advisors through coordinating case disbursement and review, organizing educational forums, and advising on, as well as conducting, investigative activities. Student volunteers, who number nearly two hundred a year, review cases, conduct investigations, and run the daily operations of the Innocence Projects at their schools.
The Center’s primary income comes from grant money and contributions from individuals.