We use local volunteer attorneys in two primary capacities. First, volunteers make up our Screening Committee. This committee reads and considers files from prisoners who are seeking our assistance to determine whether they should be sent to a student group for factual investigation. The files typically consist of questionnaires from the prisoners, legal documents including appellate briefs and decisions, and occasionally lab reports and other evidence from the prisoner’s trial. Attorneys on the Screening Committee must attend a mandatory training session and be prepared to devote at least several hours a month to the work.
Second, we recruit volunteer attorneys to take cases that we have investigated and found to be meritorious. Where appropriate, these attorneys may go into court and file for Writs of Actual Innocence or Writs of Habeas Corpus. They may negotiate with prosecutors to allow for DNA testing. They may file clemency petitions with state governors. Although the Mid-Atlantic Innocence Project will remain involved as co-counsel, we expect our pro bono attorneys to function in the case as counsel of record and to take primary responsibility for seeing it through to its conclusion. While time commitments required each month will obviously vary greatly depending on the nature and the status of the case referred, we expect volunteer attorneys not to take our referrals unless they have the time and resources to devote to the case as needed.
Currently, our legal needs are fully met and thus, we do not have a need for attorney volunteers. Thank you for your interest.