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Missoula County Courthouse
Missoula County Courthouse

We provide free legal services to innocent Montanans whose cases meet our criteria. We have freed seven people since 2008. They collectively spent more than 100 years wrongfully incarcerated.

Our legal work entails:

Phase 1: Initial Evaluation

  • Evaluate hundreds of incoming applications to determine if they meet our criteria for representation
  • If the application meets the initial criteria, send a release and authorization to the applicant allowing us to investigate, as well as a detailed case questionnaire for the applicant to fill out
  • Maintain correspondence with the applicant
  • Request additional information and documentation from the applicant
  • Interview applicant and potential witnesses in their case
  • Research statutes and case precedent
  • Refer applicants we determine do not meet our criteria to other resources of potential assistance
  • Provide a thorough review of the materials provided
  • Organize, scan, and retain physical files for all applicants for five years after the application is closed or until the applicant requests its return
  • Provide clear analysis of each application and the rationale for any action taken for internal review

Phase 2: In-Depth Evaluation

  • Interview witnesses
  • Obtain available documents including case files, transcripts, past pleadings/opinions, and discovery
  • Investigate media and Montana Supreme Court opinions on the case
  • Travel to the crime scene, to witnesses, to prisons, to courthouses, and police departments to review evidence housed there and elsewhere as dictated by the individual case
  • Develop and obtain new evidence based on investigative leads
  • Research subject matter areas dictated by the case to engage and question witnesses and potential experts regarding the areas of interest

Phase 3: Representation

  • Enter into an agreement to legally represent the applicant and review the parameters of the applicant agreement
  • Inquire and obtain pro bono counsel assistance
  • Draft pleadings
  • Brainstorm strategy and presentation of the case with the legal team
  • Inquire and obtain expert assistance as necessary
  • Advise client on potential action and potential strategic advantages and consequences of legal action
  • Set up free calling and in-person meetings with clients and counsel
  • Maintain correspondence and communication with clients
  • Review and manage responsive pleadings
  • Advocate at hearings before the Court
  • Initiate and advocate in a case where appellate relief is appropriate, either to the Montana Supreme Court or in Federal courts, or both