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California Innocence Project

The mission of the California Innocence Project (CIP) is to free the wrongly convicted from prison, work to reform the criminal justice system, and train law students to become zealous advocates. CIP is known all over the world, and it started right here at California Western in 1999. CIP and its California Western student interns have helped free forty innocent people from prison. As a CWSL student there are many ways for you to be involved and gain real world experience! 

California Innocence Project Relaunch

In anticipation of the exciting arrival of Professor Amy Kimpel as the new Executive Director of the California Innocence Project in July 2024, the clinic is on a temporary hiatus and has paused the provision of services. Professor Kimpel will build upon the strong foundation of the clinic, continuing its work to free the innocent while preparing students for careers in criminal law and beyond.

Please check back for updates about the program and direct any questions in the meantime to JavaScript Required.

Summer 2024

We are excited to offer California Western students the opportunity to participate in the Innocence Clinic in Summer 2024. Students will receive 4 units of academic credit for the seminar and clinical components. Students will work alongside experienced post-conviction attorneys to seek the release of wrongfully convicted prisoners in California.

Innocence Clinic Application

The Student Intern Experience

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.

XONR8® Join the Movement


The purpose of XONR8® is to create interest and awareness about wrongful convictions in the legal community. Wrongful convictions happen in every community across the world. The California Innocence Project is based at California Western School of Law, thus it has the ability to gather students, professors, and lawyers to teach and learn about the causes of wrongful convictions. XONR8® does this through the use of speakers, class sessions taught by practicing attorneys, and field trips to various places involved in the criminal justice process.


XONR8® officers organize and arrange several events throughout the year. Examples of typical events might be a screening of a film focused on wrongful convictions followed by a discussion, an educational seminar, or a debate on the death penalty where attendees hear from individuals involved in the death penalty process. XONR8® also organizes networking events for students, lawyers, and other individuals who are interested in criminal justice reform and wrongful convictions.

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?

Contact Us
350 Cedar Street
San Diego, CA 92101