Legal Assistance

The Montana Innocence Project considers written requests for assistance from Montana inmates who are innocent of the crimes for which they have been convicted. As a small organization, we can only consider cases that meet our criteria. For your request to be considered:

  • You must have been convicted of a felony crime in a Montana state or federal court.
  • You must have completed your trial, sentencing and direct appeals.
  • You must not currently be represented by an attorney, or have access to a public defender.
  • We give priority to cases where convincing and corroborating evidence can establish actual innocence, and we are unlikely to accept a case without independent and verifiable evidence to support the prisoner’s claims.

We do NOT accept:

  • Cases from prisoners who are an admitted accomplice, co-defendant or co-conspirator, even if the role was relatively minor.
  • Cases where a person is simply claiming that his or her rights were violated, or that they were not adequately represented–actual innocence must be the central issue.
  • Cases in which a person has not yet been convicted or sentenced, or is still in the direct appeals process.
  • Due to the difficulty of proving innocence in certain types of cases, we usually cannot assist in the event that:
    • a defendant admits to killing or assaulting someone but claims it was done in self–defense;
    • a prisoner admits to sexual contact but claims the person consented to the contact;
    • a prisoner convicted as an accessory claims he or she did not play a major role in the crime.
  • We do not assist inmates with filing civil suits, legal research, appealing to the Board of Pardons and Parole, or any other issues unrelated to actual innocence.
  • We do not review cases based solely on information given by a friend or family member–the request must be made by the prisoner.

If you believe you meet these requirements, please send a letter to:

Montana Innocence Project
P.O. Box 7607
Missoula, MT 59807

Make sure to include:

  • Your full name, inmate ID and address
  • Explain your case briefly, including information about the crime and where your case stands
  • Explain what evidence can help establish your innocence. This can include DNA (blood, semen, hair, saliva, etc) or other convincing forms of evidence.

Please understand that it will take some time to review and respond to your letter, as we receive a large volume of requests. Do not call our office and do not ask others to call our office.