Collage of four exonerees being released

California Innocence Project

The California Innocence Project (CIP) is known all over the world, and it started right here at California Western. Led by Director Justin Brooks, CIP and its California Western interns have helped free 36 innocent people from prison. As a CWSL student you can apply to intern with CIP and gain real world experience by working to help free the wrongfully convicted while working to help change the criminal justice system through legislation. 

Become a Student Intern

Students selected to work with the California Innocence Project take part in a year-long internship with the clinic. Clinic students receive a unique experience that oftentimes differs from traditional legal internships. During that year, you will work alongside CIP staff attorneys on cases with strong evidence of factual innocence. As an intern you will assist in case investigation and litigation by locating and re-interviewing witnesses, examining new evidence, filing motions, securing experts, and providing support to attorneys during evidentiary hearings and trials.

Hear from CIP interns

California Innocence Project Intern Brittany


CIP Intern, 2022

“My experience with CIP has opened my eyes to the injustices of the “Justice” system while honing my legal writing, investigative, and interviewing skills. Through the practical experience offered by CIP, I will enter the next phase of my career mindful of, and thereby better prepared to avoid, the issues contributing to wrongful convictions.”

California Innocence Project Intern Madison


CIP Intern, 2022

“I chose to participate in the California Innocence Project to continue the fight for criminal justice reform and freeing wrongfully convicted individuals. It is an honor to be a part of a program that gives hope to those whom the criminal justice system failed.”

California Innocence Project Intern Tatum


CIP Intern, 2022

“… I value CIP’s mission to not only help those who are wrongfully convicted, but to implement legislative change in hopes of decreasing the amount of innocent people being wrongfully incarcerated.”

Making an impact

Since its inception, CIP has been involved in changing laws and policies in California related to preserving evidence, litigating innocence cases, and compensating exonerees. 

CIP Clients freed
Innocence claims by inmates reviewed by interns a year
California Innocence Project established at CWSL

Freeing the Innocent

Clients of the California Innocence Project have spent 570 years in prison due to wrongful convictions. While they cannot get those years back, they are now embarking on a future with freedom.

California Innocence Project letters on black background Play Video

CIP help free innocent man after 20 years in prison.

Take a look at a handful of these stories to better understand why programs like CIP are crucial in the pursuit of social justice:

Brian Banks Kimberly Long Marilyn Mulero Timothy Atkins Michael Hanline

Support the California Innocence Project

Give Now

Make a gift today and you can help the California Innocence Project free wrongfully convicted men and women who are imprisoned for a crime they did not commit. By supporting the California Innocence Project, you’ll help uphold the integrity of our criminal justice system now and for years to come. From investigation to exoneration, your donation provides the California Innocence Project with the resources required to pursue an innocence claim within our legal system.

California Innocence Project

Want to know more about the incredible work at CIP, how you can help fund the clinic’s work, or discover how you can join CIP once you are a student at California Western? Visit the CIP website.

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