Instructions for Volunteer
Thank you for agreeing to assist the Innocence Commission for Virginia (ICVA). The Commission is a joint project of the Innocence Project of the National Capital Region, the Administration of Justice Program at George Mason University, and the Constitution Project.
ICVA's mission is three-fold: to identify common errors in cases in which innocent people have been wrongly convicted of serious cases, to propose policy reforms to help prevent wrongful convictions from occurring in the future, and to offer a series of best practices to improve the investigation and prosecution of serious criminal cases in Virginia. ICVA's work depends on the contributions of volunteers like yourself who have agreed to investigate the circumstances of particular cases.
By now you should have received the name of a Virginia case in which a defendant has been exonerated of a serious crime or there exist compelling reasons to doubt the defendant's conviction. We ask that you now immerse yourself in the facts and procedural history of the case in order to chronicle what went wrong in the investigation and prosecution of the case and explain the process by which the conviction was eventually challenged.
On the next page we have provided a series of suggested data to collect when investigating the case and drafting your report, but we are more concerned that you provide a thorough account than that you answer each item posed. If you have any questions, please feel free to consult Don Salzman or Julia Sullivan of ICVA, who will be happy to talk to you about the case.
As you begin to consider a research strategy, we offer the following advice: