ABOUT US

the innocence center

About Us

The Innocence Center is an independent non-profit law firm dedicated to freeing the innocent from prison, educating the public on the causes of wrongful conviction, and assisting freed clients as they reenter society. 

The Innocence Center launched in 2023.  The Board and Staff have decades of innocence work under their belt, all having worked at the California Innocence Project as a staff or faculty member.  Collectively, the group has freed more than 40 people who have served 560+ years in prison for crimes they did not commit.  The team has been responsible for getting a dozen laws changed to prevent future injustices and make it easier to free the innocent.  The Innocence Center is a provisional member of the Innocence Network.

our mission

The Mission of The Innocence Center is to free as many innocent people from prison as possible.  We do this by embracing innovation and technology to identify cases, including using Artificial Intelligence and automation in our intake process.  

In addition to freeing the innocent, it is our mission to educate the public on the causes of wrongful conviction.  We envision a world where every juror sitting for a criminal trial has been told about the leading contributing factors, has a basic understanding of the common problems, and is ready to identify a wrongful conviction on the front end.  Where that fails, we envision a world where truth overcomes finality.

Lastly, our mission is to support exonerated people as they are released from prison.  All too often, the innocent are a news story for a day and forgotten.  We strive to ensure they are set up for success for the rest of their lives.

Board

The Innocence Center, Inc.’s board is made up of former California Innocence Project staff and alumni. Jan Stiglitz, the co-founder of the California Innocence Project, is the Chair of The Innocence Center.  Board members include California Innocence Project former Director Justin Brooks, and California Innocence Project alumni Nikki Semanchik, Matthew Binninger, and Abbas Kazerounian. 

Staff

The Innocence Center, Inc.’s staff is comprised of Michael Semanchik, Jasmin Harris, Raquel Barilla, Audrey McGinn, and Claudia Salinas. Michael Semanchik joined The Innocence Center as Executive Director after spending 14 years at the California Innocence Project, first as a staff attorney and then as managing attorney. Jasmin Harris joined The Innocence Center as Director of Development and Policy after spending 6 years at the California Innocence Project. Raquel, Audrey, and Claudia joined the team in 2024 after collectively spending more than three decades at the California Innocence Project.

Job Opportunities

Paralegal

The Innocence Center is seeking a dedicated paralegal to join our team.  The paralegal will be responsible for case identification, case review, preparation for litigation, and administrative duties as assigned.

Apply here.

Investigator

The Innocence Center is seeking a dedicated Investigator to join our team. As an Investigator, you will play a crucial role in reviewing and investigating claims of wrongful conviction in California. You will work closely with attorneys to gather evidence, conduct interviews, and uncover new information to support our clients’ cases.

Apply here.