How to Request Legal Assistance


The Center on Wrongful Convictions (CWC) will consider cases that meet the following criteria:

  1. A claim of actual innocence: The person seeking assistance must be in no way responsible for the crimes of which he or she was convicted.
  2. Post-conviction status: The trial must be completed and have resulted in a conviction and sentence.

If you believe that your claim fits these criteria, please send us a letter to the address below. The letter should briefly summarize the events that led to your current incarceration.     

          Center on Wrongful Convictions
          Northwestern University School of Law
          375 East Chicago Avenue
          Chicago, Illinois 60611

All requests must be sent through the mail. The CWC will not consider requests for representation received via email or over the phone. Please note that all requests must come directly from the person seeking representation, although we will accept supplemental materials from third parties.

The review process for requests for representation can take several months or longer. During this process, the CWC will not provide phone or mail updates about the status of the review. We thank you for your patience. The CWC will send a letter after the review process has been completed.

The CWC does not handle the following types of cases: (1) sentence reduction requests; (2) civil lawsuits.


Other Resources

Legal Representation

The Innocence Network is an affiliation of organizations, with a membership list organized by state, dedicated to providing pro bono legal and investigative services to individuals seeking to prove their innocence of crimes for which they have been convicted, as well as working to redress the causes of wrongful convictions.

Criminal Justice Organizations

MacArthur Justice Center
National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers
The Sentencing Project
Southern Center for Human Rights
Truth in Justice

Death Penalty Websites

ABA Death Penalty Representation Project
Clark County Indiana Prosecutor's Death Penalty Links
Constitution Project
Death Penalty Focus
Death Penalty Information Center
Witness to Innocence

Additional Sites of Interest

National Registry of Exonerations
Illinois Murder Indictments 2000-2010
Homicide in Chicago 1870-1930