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Frequently Asked Questions

Does the Institute for Actual Innocence take civil cases?

No. We are not able to assist anyone with civil cases. If you have an issue with a civil case, please see the resources section of this Web site for a list of agencies and organizations that may be of assistance.

Does the Institute accept cases from outside the Commonwealth of Virginia?

No. The Institute is only equipped to take cases from the Commonwealth of Virginia. If you or someone you know is incarcerated in another state and has a claim of innocence, see resources for information on programs that can provide you assistance in your area.

What type of crimes does the institute investigate?

The Institute for Actual Innocence investigates claims of actual innocence for prisoners who have been convicted of a Class I felony or Class II felony in the Commonwealth of Virginia. We do not handle misdemeanor charges.

How many years of my sentence must I have remaining for the institute to accept my case?

Because the exoneration process takes an extended period of time, we require that persons seeking our assistance have a minimum of 10 years remaining on their sentence from the time they submit a request for assistance to the institute.

Should I send my entire case record with my client intake form?

No. Please do not send any information or materials besides the Client Intake Form until the institute contacts you. We have limited physical space and will contact you if we need any additional documents.

Will you take my case if I currently have an attorney?

Possibly. Please indicate your attorney’s name and contact information on your Client Intake Form.

Now that I have submitted a complete Client Intake Form, when will I hear back from the institute?

Once a completed Client Intake Form is received at the institute, we will send you a confirmation of receipt by mail. After this initial notice, we will not contact you again until a decision has been made regarding your case. However, you may receive periodic updates. Please do not send multiple letters or attempt to contact the institute by other means after you have submitted your Client Intake Form.

Institute for Actual Innocence

Mail all written requests and client intake forms to the following address:

Institute for Actual Innocence
University of Richmond School of Law
28 Westhampton Way
Richmond, VA 23173