Request Legal Assistance

Acknowledgment of your resilence:

We commend you for advocating for yourself or your loved one by visiting this page and learning about the Montana Innocence Project’s free legal services. We know taking this step is not easy. Regardless of whether we accept the case you are advocating on behalf of, our organization recognizes the many injustices all convicted people faced during and before incarceration. We are actively working to make the system more accurate, fair, and transparent for everyone.

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 appeal. 
  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 or mitigation that would show the conviction was unjust.

What is “innocence,” and what is an “unjust conviction?”

Innocence is when you did not commit the crime for which you are convicted, or the crime you are convicted of never happened.

Unjust convictions are those where you are not innocent of the crime you are convicted of but mitigating circumstances make your conviction and/or sentence unjust. We recognize this is a broad definition. Unjust convictions are a new aspect of our legal representation, and we are still determining what types of unjust conviction cases we can work on with existing legal remedies in Montana. If you think your conviction is unjust based on mitigating circumstances, follow the directions below for requesting legal assistance. If we think there could be an avenue for relief in your case, we will let you know the next steps. If there is no way for us to help, we will let you know that as well.

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 or unjust conviction 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 sexual contact but claims the person consented to the contact.

We do not:

  1. Generally 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 or unjust conviction.
  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 or unjust conviction. 

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: