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Innocence Matters

Rating: 5 stars   41 reviews 1,776

Nonprofit Issues:

Civil Rights, Education, Crime & Law

Address:

PO Box 1098 (physical address given for appointments) Torrance CA 90505 USA

Mission:

We believe the innocent should not be incarcerated and when mistakes are discovered we should all join forces to correct the error and free the innocent quickly. Our work is primarily focused on the broader goals of education, prevention and reform. We are particularly interested in improving the quality of indigent defense services and implementing systemic changes that will better protect the innocent and encourage the legal community to more quickly acknowledge and correct errors. Our preventative programs are designed to bring about lasting change and provide a broad toolkit for the innocent and their attorneys.

Results:

September 24, 2012: John Edward Smith was reunited with his family after serving 19 years for a murder he did not commit. October 10, 2014: Susan Marie Mellen was reunited with her family after serving 17 years for a murder she did not commit.

Target demographics:

the innocent

Programs:

the I Am Innocent seminar that teaches the innocent how to prevent their wrongful conviction and the Ganging Up on Innocence investigation program to help people who have already been wrongfully convicted.

2014 Top-Rated Nonprofit
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More Info

310-755-2518
www.innocencematters.org

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Reviews for Innocence Matters

Rating: 5 stars   Featured Review

2 people found this review helpful

Innocence Matters is clearly and passionately a second-look organization for people who are wrongfully convicted in Los Angeles County. I thank Innocence Matters and my attorney, Deirdre O’Connor, for the dedication and passion to my Freedom and for setting the “truth” of my wrongful prosecution to be corrected within our judicial system. Without the commitment and loyalty of Deirdre O’Connor, I would still be wrongfully imprisoned and living life without the possibility of parole. Ultimately for my own survival and edification, I had to stay focused on a Life with One Purpose which is to have faith in GOD and to help other innocent women within the judicial system to touch freedom. Now as a free individual, I am living my new adventure and being a voice for Innocence Matters. Life is not worth living unless you are helping someone else.
My life has truly evolved to a world of “GOD-Sents”. After seventeen (17) years of wrongful imprisonment, Deirdre was GOD’s angel sent to me with an impassioned pledge to prove my innocence and to unshackled me to my new journey in the “Free World”. I’ve always said from the moment I met Deirdre “She is the Real Deal”. The first time we met, she cried real tears of compassion; seriously, what attorney does that? My new world is open-handed with blessings of my family reunification and love. Deirdre herself is instrumental in making my family complete.
I ultimately thank David Winkler for convincing Deirdre O’Connor for taking my case. He, is truly the “key” that opened my door to Freedom. I also thank all the interns that are associated with Innocence Matter; without their continued visits and inspiring communications, my term within the LA County Jail system would have been deplorable.

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2014

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Role: General Member of the Public
Rating: 5 stars  

This organization help my friends mom get out of prison after 17 years for a murder she didn't commit
Thanks for everything

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Role: General Member of the Public
Rating: 5 stars  

1 person found this review helpful

They did such a great job with the Susan Mullen case, the State of California should hire them and fire the incompetent prosecutors they have...

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Rating: 5 stars  

1 person found this review helpful

Innocence Matters provides a much needed service to people who have been unjustly incarcerated. Unfortunately our systems is based on which attorney is the best, most persuasive speaker. The truth often gets lost in the process. The system has failed many people and Innocence Matters is performing a much needed service to people who are unjustly incarcerated. They were successful in getting our dear friend's mother released after serving 17 years for a crime she had nothing to do with. We are so happy that Susan Mellen is now a free woman and reunited with her family.

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Rating: 5 stars  

1 person found this review helpful

Deirdre O'Conner and her team at Innocence Matters were instrumental in bringing home my friend Jessica Besch's mom Susan Mellen!!! Her freedom was long overdue. Jessica is very close to my cousin and her family so this was kind of close to home. Thank you for what you did!!!!

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Rating: 5 stars  

1 person found this review helpful

Innocence Matters brought my friends family back together again. Without their hard work and dedication an innocent women would still be behind bars for the rest of her life. So grateful that there are organizations out there like this helping those in need.

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Rating: 5 stars  

1 person found this review helpful

It is good to know that there are people out in the world that really cares about the people and will help fight for what is right. Deirdre O'Connor you are a true blessing to the Mellen family.
Thank you

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Role: Professional with expertise in this field
Rating: 5 stars  

1 person found this review helpful

Innocence Matters is a first-class organization that quietly saves lives. Deirdre O'Connor is a highly effective advocate for innocent inmates. She's not afraid to take tough cases others might shy away from, and she wins them.

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Rating: 5 stars  

4 people found this review helpful

I am very thankful that Innocence Matters is working to protect the rights of those who have been wrongly accused and convicted of a crime. The work that Innocence Matters did in order to free Susan Marie Mellen from 17 years of incarceration in a California state prison is nothing less than heroic.

Susan Mellen was falsely accused of a 1997 murder, that had occurred in Lawndale California. Her accuser's name was June Patti, a meth head and habitual liar. While all the evidence was pointing to three gang members as the perpetrators of the crime, the LAPD detective on the case, Marcella Winn, began to build a case against Mellen based on this one accusation from a lying meth head who was known to several local law enforcement agencies as an unreliable witness. Winn knew this about Patti, but kept the information out of official records, so neither the prosecuting attorney nor the defense attorney knew the truth about June Patti and her lying ways. To say that Winn was lazy and performed her sworn duty in a substandard way is an understatement. Her work in the case of Richard Daly was criminal, or at least should be. Because of her laziness neither Rick Daly nor Susan Mellen received justice, and Susan's family was ripped apart.

To heep injury upon injury, Mellen’s attorney, a divorce attorney with little trial experience, and who had been reprimanded by the bar association for providing his clients with sketchy legal representation, did next to no investigation work before the trial, and during trial provided Mellen with substandard representation. It looked as though no one was there for Susan, and the result was that she was convicted and sentenced to life without the possibility of parole.

Innocence Matters took Susan’s case in November 2013, and within three months was able to apply for Habeas Corpus on behalf of Ms. Mellen. Finally after the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s office performed their own investigation into the case, they recommended that Susan Mellen be released from her hell. Susan Mellen was ordered released by a Torrance Superior Court judge, Mark Arnold, on October 9, 2014. Upon releasing her, Judge Arnold remarked that in Susan's case, "the criminal justice system failed".

Without the help of Innocence Matters, Susan Mellen may have died in prison having never realized justice in her case. Innocence Matters got Susan some justice, and that makes them heroes in my book.

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Rating: 5 stars  

4 people found this review helpful

What words could possibly describe what an organization like Innocence Matters brings to innocent people and their families. Innocence Matters, and Deirdre O'Connor gave my friend Susan Mellen and her family and friends quite literally their lives back. The tears my friend Susan, her family and friends have cried...and the tears I shed while I write this are insurmountable.
Unfortunately, Susan Mellen is only one of countless innocent fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters, sons and daughters; feeling the injustice of being accused of crimes they did not commit.
We need to do all we can, to support Innocence Matters. What better organization to donate time and money.
I submit to everyone out there, to donate all you can to this great organization of people, who have dedicated countless hours and money to exonerating the innocent. I sure plan on doing all I can do.

Vivian Dunn
Seattle,Wa

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