Meet the Team

Frank Knaack, Executive Director

Frank Knaack is the Executive Director of the Montana Innocence Project, a statewide nonprofit organization dedicated to exonerating the innocent and preventing wrongful convictions.

Prior to joining the Montana Innocence Project, Frank served as the Executive Director of Alabama Appleseed Center for Law and Justice. There, he led the creation of integrated advocacy campaigns seeking to end policing for profit and a court system funded off the backs of the poor, ensure equal access to the courts, and create a public health centered approach to drug policy. In Alabama, Frank also co-led successful efforts to end judicial override in capital sentencing and stop Alabama sheriffs from personally profiting from jail food money.  

Prior to joining Alabama Appleseed, Frank served as the Director of Public Policy and Communications for the ACLU of Virginia, where his team secured major public policy victories in the areas of criminal justice, the death penalty, government surveillance, reproductive freedom, and immigrants’ rights.

Frank also developed and managed the ACLU of Texas’ statewide campaigns and led the organization’s successful efforts at the Texas Legislature to pass legislation designed to dismantle the school-to-prison pipeline. Frank began his human rights advocacy career with the national ACLU, where he researched domestic human rights violations and coordinated national advocacy campaigns designed to hold the United States accountable to its international human rights treaty obligations. Frank also served as a Palestine Works Fellow with Adalah – The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel.

Frank has been quoted on human rights issues in a variety of publications including The Washington Post, NY Times, Newsweek, and the Associated Press. 

Caiti Carpenter, Legal Director

Caiti Carpenter is Legal Director for the Montana Innocence Project. Caiti brings experience as a solo practitioner in private practice to the Montana Innocence Project. As a criminal defense attorney she represented clients in post conviction relief cases, misdemeanor and felony criminal matters, as well as dependency neglect, contract disputes, and other civil matters. She graduated with a bachelor’s degree in political science from University of Colorado in Boulder before earning her law degree from Catholic University, Columbus School of Law in Washington D.C. Caiti is overjoyed to return to the work that first struck her passion for practicing law. She is excited to represent MTIP’s clients as well as engage with students, volunteers, donors, and staff in furtherance of this organization’s righteous mission: to exonerate the innocent.

Alyssa Rabil, Web Manager

Alyssa graduated from the University of Montana School of Journalism in 2011. She spent her college years volunteering on American Indian reservations and reporting for the journalism school’s Native News Project and the Montana Kaimin. In her post-college years, she honed her web design skills and did contract work as a designer and editor for mobile and online sites. She currently divides her time between MTIP and the journalism school where she works as the Media and Information Coordinator.

Rich Buley, Investigator

Rich has been practicing law in Montana for 35 years at the firm Tipp and Buley. Rich’s legal career involved a wide range of cases but he concentrated primarily in the areas of representing plaintiffs in personal injuries and worker’s compensation, and representing defendants in criminal cases. He was one of the founding members of the Montana Criminal Defense Lawyers Association in 1997 and have been a member of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. Rich was licensed by the State of Montana as a Private Investigator in 2014 and has engaged in that business since he retired from the active practice of law in 2015.