Wrongful Conviction Project
"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere."
Martin Luther King Jr.
Our Mission and Vision
The Wrongful Conviction Project’s mission is to free wrongfully convicted Ohioans and to reform the criminal legal system to prevent future injustice. We effectively and compassionately advocate for our clients, serving them both while they are incarcerated and upon release. Collaborating with local, state, and national partners, we educate stakeholders about the causes of wrongful conviction and pursue policy and legislative reforms to improve the criminal legal system.
About the Wrongful Conviction Project
The Wrongful Conviction Project (WCP) was created in 2009 to address claims of innocence where biological evidence (DNA) was not available. Due in part to the generosity of Moritz College of Law alumna Erin Moriarty and a grant from the Department of Justice, the WCP has since grown to include three full-time staff. The WCP works closely with the Moritz College of Law and Capital University Law School, hosting law students as interns, externs, and volunteers and training them to be quality advocates. The WCP is also a member of the Innocence Network, an affiliation of organizations around the world dedicated to providing pro bono legal and investigative services to individuals seeking to prove innocence of crimes for which they have been convicted, working to redress the causes of wrongful convictions, and supporting the exonerated after they are freed.
Each year, the WCP receives hundreds of applications for assistance. Each application is thoroughly screened and evaluated, with careful attention paid to factors known to cause wrongful convictions, including false or misleading forensic evidence, official misconduct, false confessions, mistaken eyewitness identification, and perjury/false accusation. The WCP conducts extensive investigations, consults with experts, and provides quality representation to wrongfully convicted individuals.
How to Get Help
The Wrongful Conviction Project focuses primarily on wrongful conviction claims that do not involve DNA evidence. The WCP only evaluates the claims of people who were convicted in Ohio, are currently incarcerated, and who claim factual innocence. The WCP does not provide legal assistance during the time of pretrial, trial, or an individual’s direct appeal.
Those interested in having the WCP evaluate their case for possible assistance must complete a Wrongful Conviction Project Screening Questionnaire and return it to the Wrongful Conviction Project at:
Wrongful Conviction Project
Office of the Ohio Public Defender
250 East Broad Street
Columbus, Ohio 43215
Once the WCP has conducted an initial screening of an applicant’s case, it will contact them by mail.
Questions about the WCP? Contact us.
Defender of Justice Award
Erin F. Moriarty, Esq., Journalist
Born in Cincinnati and raised in Columbus, Erin graduated from the Ohio State University, Phi Beta Kappa, with a degree in behavioral sciences, and received a law degree from Ohio State’s College of Law in 1977. She is licensed to practice law in Ohio and Maryland. Erin’s work as a journalist for CBS News is well known, including her dedication to issues of justice, including wrongful convictions. This commitment was on display through her brilliant investigative reporting on the wrongful conviction of Ryan Ferguson in Columbia, Missouri. Her work brought national attention to the case and was instrumental in Ryan’s ultimate exoneration.
Erin brought her dedication to issues of injustice home by generously donating through the Moritz College of Law to help fund the Wrongful Conviction Project’s Fellowship Program that began in 2010. Erin’s generosity did not stop there. She has continued to support our Project by continuing to fund WCP student intern positions every year. Erin regularly communicates with the Project expressing her support and appreciation for our work.
In 2013, the Ohio Public Defender, in recognition of her support for OPD's Wrongful Conviction Project, help to those who defend the poor, and dedication to improving justice by protecting, defending, and strengthening the rights of all, recognized Erin as a Defender of Justice.