History and Successes

A few of IPNO’s major successes to date include:

  • Freeing / exonerating 28 wrongly convicted prisoners. Sixteen of the 28 cases had no DNA evidence and ten were teenagers when they were wrongly arrested.
  • Coordinating a joint project with the New Orleans Police Department (NOPD) to train detectives in building accurate cases and preventing wrongful convictions.
  • Working with the Louisiana legislature to secure DNA testing and wrongful conviction compensation laws (and subsequent beneficial amendments to both).
    • Litigating and winning compensation for 19 of Louisiana’s exonerees who were entitled to it.
  • Founding and facilitating the Criminal Attorney Accountability Working Group to address frequent lapses in performance, professionalism and ethical standards amongst practicing criminal lawyers on both sides of the profession that cause wrongful convictions.
  • Founding and facilitating a working group of prosecutors, police, defense attorneys, judges and evidence clerks in Orleans Parish to formulate and implement best practices in evidence collection, storage and preservation and, in 2009, winning a $1.4 million grant from the National Institute of Justice (NIJ) for the group to inventory evidence facilities, improve storage and retention policies and DNA test old biological evidence. The project cataloged 57,031 items of old evidence that were previously undocumented and the work resulted in the exoneration of an innocent man who was wrongly confined at a state mental health hospital for 20 years. Without this project we would likely never have found, and exonerated, him.
  • Subsequently winning a $1.2 million grant from NIJ to expand the project across the state in 2012. This resulted in the reorganization of evidence facilities in St. John Parish, Grant Parish and Tangipahoa Parish where 12,523 items of old evidence were inventoried.
  • Launching, and fully funding, a Capital Campaign that enabled us to purchase our office building.
 
Angola Prision