History & Accomplishments
“I am being counted as a person again.”
— Sabein Burgess, 2014 exoneree and MAIP client, on what it’s like to have his freedom restored
The Mid-Atlantic Innocence Project (MAIP) was founded in 2000 to prevent and correct wrongful convictions in the District of Columbia, Maryland, and Virginia. Working with pro bono lawyers, student interns and externs, and affiliated classes or clinics at three area law schools, MAIP provides investigative and legal assistance to wrongfully convicted individuals whose innocence can be proven by DNA testing or by other newly discovered evidence. In 2015, MAIP celebrates our 15th anniversary.
With a tremendous record of case and policy victories, MAIP is one of the most successful innocence organizations in the country. To date, we have secured the exoneration or release of 19 innocent men in the DC area.
MAIP is doing extraordinary work with limited resources. Recent MAIP achievements:
* In May 2015, Virginia’s Governor McAuliffe pardoned Michael McAlister after serving 29 years in prison.
* In April 2015, the US Attorney’s Office dismissed the charges against Gary Gathers and Keith Mitchell, after they each served 20 years in prison for a murder they did not commit.
* In February 2015, the Baltimore City Circuit Court granted a Writ of Actual Innocence to Sabein Burgess, who served 19 years in prison for a murder he did not commit.
* On July 21, 2014, the D.C. Superior Court granted a Certificate of Actual Innocence to Kevin Martin based on DNA evidence that proved his innocence in a 1982 rape and murder.
In addition to our case successes, MAIP is recognized as a regional leader in criminal justice reform. Because of our expertise and our reputation for integrity and working effectively with prosecutors and government officials, MAIP has been invited to play a leadership role for criminal justice reform in DC and the region. In the coming year, we will continue our leadership role in existing collaborations for reform:
* Resolving Errors of the FBI Crime Lab in DC—Last year, at the invitation of the USAO, MAIP reviewed more than 80 DC cases involving faulty hair and fiber analysis by the FBI crime laboratory. We are working with the Public Defender Service for the District of Columbia to develop a joint report on the results. MAIP will spend the coming year conducting follow up in 38 of those cases.
* Conviction Integrity Unit at the US Attorney’s Office—MAIP is one of only two innocence organizations to be officially involved with the more than 20 new units across the country, and the first in which one has been given a policy role.
* Conviction Integrity Unit at the Baltimore City State’s Attorney—MAIP has met with the newly elected State’s Attorney in Baltimore City and is helping the office to find individuals to serve on its newly formed external review panel.
* Virginia’s Department of Criminal Justice Services—MAIP is participating in multiple large-scale reviews of wrongful convictions, including a project in which DNA testing was conducted in 800-900 old cases.