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 Pritzker 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.


National Registry of Exonerationsdetailed information about every known exoneration in the United States since 1989

Illinois State Judges Websitebiographical and professional data and information on the election and appointment of all Illinois state judges sitting during the calendar year 2015

Illinois Murder Indictments 2000-2010: interactive database covering 2,200 murder indictments

Homicide in Chicago 1870-1930: searchable database chronicling 11,000 homicides

Books of Interest

With Malice Aforethought: The Execution Of Nicola Sacco And Bartolomeo Vanzetti, by Theodore W. Grippo (CWC Advisory Board member)

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