The Kentucky Innocence Project (KIP) was developed by the Department of Public Advocacy to provide incarcerated men and women who have legitimate claims of innocence with a resource through which their claims may be investigated and presented to the courts of the Commonwealth for relief.
KIP serves the entire state by not only addressing each case of wrongful conviction but also addressing much broader concerns in the criminal justice system. KIP seeks to introduce innovative social policies, to create progressive legislative and constitutional reforms, and to establish itself as a conduit for progress.
Founded in 2001, the Kentucky Innocence Project provides quality investigative and legal assistance to Kentucky prisoners with provable claims of actual innocence. The Program combines the resources of the Kentucky Department of Public Advocacy (the Commonwealth’s Public Defender Agency) with several of the Commonwealth’s finest educational institutions to extensively investigate and litigate claims of innocence by those convicted in the state of Kentucky. The Northern Kentucky University’s Salmon P. Chase School of Law, the University of Kentucky College of Law, the University of Louisville Brandeis School of Law offer students the opportunity to participate in the Kentucky Innocence Project Externship. These students receive the opportunity to sharpen professional skills while performing a valuable service to the wrongfully incarcerated men and women of the Commonwealth. Unlike many other innocence projects across the country, KIP does not limit cases only to those where DNA evidence exists. Instead the Kentucky Innocence Project strives to release all wrongfully convicted Kentuckians.
Suggested Case Criteria
In order to qualify for the services, prospective clients should meet the following criteria:
• A Kentucky conviction & incarceration;
• A minimum ten-year sentence;
• A minimum of three years until eligible to go before the parole board or if parole has been deferred, a minimum of three years to the next appearance before the Board;
• New evidence of innocence discovered since the conviction which can be investigated; and
• A claim of actual innocence.