New innocence and conviction integrity web page features resources, volunteer info

Thursday, Feb. 29, 2024
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The Massachusetts Bar Association is excited to announce its publication of a new dedicated web page for the MBA’s Innocence and Conviction Integrity Initiatives. It features information and resources related to the MBA’s newly launched innocence Initiative, offering opportunities for MBA members to volunteer with Massachusetts’ three innocence organizations. 

It also contains information and key resources related to the MBA’s ongoing efforts since 2018 at promoting conviction integrity through its Massachusetts Conviction Integrity Task Force (MCITF), and its predecessor, the Massachusetts Conviction Integrity Working Group (MCIWG), consisting of leading Massachusetts criminal justice stakeholders, including representatives from state prosecutorial offices and the Massachusetts Innocence Network. 

In addition to information and resources related to the MBA’s Innocence Initiative, the new webpage contains bulleted resources related to the MBA’s Conviction Integrity Initiative. Among the key resources made available on the new page are the MCIWG’s acclaimed 2021 best practices guide, “Conviction Integrity Programs: A Guide to Best Practices for Prosecutorial Offices,” and the publicly available portion of the December 2023 MCITF's Training Video for Prosecutors

The web page also connects to a “Timeline of Progress,” which tracks and summarizes key milestones, with links to resources, related to the MBA’s ongoing efforts since 2018 in preventing and remedying wrongful convictions.

The MBA‘s Innocence Initiative, first announced at the MBA’s House of Delegates meeting in September 2023, seeks volunteer attorneys to help expand the capacity of the three Massachusetts innocence organizations — the Committee for Public Counsel Services’  Innocence Program (“CPCS”), the New England Innocence Project and the Boston College Innocence Program — to represent people who maintain they were wrongfully convicted for crimes they did not commit.

This is a special opportunity for MBA members to support innocence organizations in their challenging and vital efforts at remedying wrongful convictions, by: 1) helping CPCS evaluate applications for legal assistance on post-conviction claims of wrongful conviction, or 2) assisting the innocence organizations in advanced case reviews or in investigating post-conviction claims.

Whether you have already signed up to volunteer, or are interested but have not yet applied to volunteer for the Innocence Initiative, the new web page offers information and resources, including information about available volunteer opportunities, a link to the Volunteer Application Form, and a direct link to the On Demand video of the Jan. 30 Information Session.

If you are interested in volunteering for the Innocence Initiative, please complete and submit the Volunteer Application Form. CPCS will contact you about your application to volunteer after it’s reviewed. As MBA President Damian J. Turco says at his welcome message at the top of the MBA Innocence and Conviction Integrity Initiatives page: “The incarcerated innocent need our help. Thank you for considering this opportunity!”