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To be considered for MTIP’s free legal services, your case must meet the following criteria:

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

We do not accept:

  1. Cases from convicted persons who are an admitted accomplice, co-defendant, or co-conspirator, even if the role was relatively minor.
  2. Cases where the convicted person is solely claiming that their rights were violated or that they were not adequately represented (actual innocence must be the central issue).
  3. Due to the difficulty of proving innocence in certain types of cases, we usually cannot assist in the event that:
    • the convicted person admits to killing or assaulting someone but claims it was done in self–defense. 
    • the convicted person admits to sexual contact but claims the person consented to the contact. 
    • the person was convicted as an accessory but claims they did not play a major role in the crime. 

We do not:

  1. Assist convicted people with filing civil suits, legal research, appealing to the Board of Pardons and Parole, or any other issues unrelated to actual innocence.
  2. Review cases based solely on information given by a friend or family member (the request must be made by the convicted person).

How to request legal assistance:

  1. Send a letter to Montana Innocence Project P.O. Box 7607 Missoula, MT 59807. Note: the person seeking legal assistance must be the one to request it.
  2. Include your full name, inmate ID, and address.
  3. Include a brief explanation of your case, including information about the crime and where your case stands today.
  4. Include an explanation of any evidence that can help establish your innocence. 

To better understand the reasons behind our criteria, please click on the FAQ below:

If you do not meet our criteria, please click on the link below to review other legal resources: