Georgia Innocence Project
On the news you see a man walk out of prison after spending decades of his life in prison for a crime he did not commit thanks to the work of the Georgia Innocence Project (GIP). You might think, how did they do that? Well, we do it, quite literally, one piece of paper at a time.
Every one of those pieces of paper cost us time, energy and, of course, money. Every dollar donated gets us closer to the piece of paper that will change our client’s life – the Order releasing our innocent client.
So, how many pieces of paper does $100 buy for GIP?
Dave writes to us. In order to fully understand Dave case, GIP must exchange letters with him. In addition, GIP is committed to good client communication, so we regularly send Dave updates about the progress of his case.
Dave has spent decades collecting his documents from his lawyer and the court. These documents are extremely precious him. GIP needs those documents. He can’t afford the $.25 a page to copy the documents so he agrees to send his originals to GIP. We arrange postage. Of course, we have to return these documents.
We copy Dave’s documents. Copying these documents in-house is considerably cheaper than ordering a copy of the transcript which will cost over $1 a page!
Dave doesn’t have everything. He didn’t know that in Georgia, he is entitled to a copy of the GBI, police and prosecutors files. We file Open Records requests and pay the agency fees.
We’ve read all the documents and believe Dave has a good claim of innocence we can just need DNA evidence from his case. We have reconstructed the chain of custody (COC) and the trail ends at the clerk’s office. The clerk claims they don’t have the evidence. Convinced that no one has really looked for it, we hand deliver the COC. While we wait, the clerk searches the evidence room and finds the evidence!
Holiday Card $2.50
Once we find the evidence, GIP agrees to represent Dave and begins litigating for testing. Once Dave becomes a client he becomes part of GIP’s family. Every December, we send all of our client’s holiday cards to let them know we are thinking of them. Dave sends us a note that ours was the only card he received and it made him look forward to the New Year for the first time in a long time.
Total Cost: hours of work + lots of frustration + a few sleepless nights + $100
While literally hundreds of supporters, volunteers and law students help us achieve GIP mission to end wrongful convictions - the actual staff of GIP is quite small. We only have two full-time attorneys and one part-time staff member. Operating with a budget of less than $150,000, we survive one dollar at a time. A $100 donation will keep us going.