First of Its Kind
In The Nation

The North Carolina Innocence Inquiry Commission is the first of its kind in the nation. The Commission was created by the North Carolina General Assembly in 2006 and began operating in 2007. Since then, the Commission has reviewed over 2,000 innocence claims and conducted multiple hearings.

Independent & Balanced Truth Seeking


The Commission is charged with providing an independent and balanced truth-seeking forum for credible post-conviction claims of innocence in North Carolina.


The Commission is separate from the appeals process. A person exonerated through the Commission process is declared innocent and cannot be retried for the same crime.

The Commission began operation in 2007

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Total Number of Claims Received since Commission's Creation

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Total Number of Cases Closed since Commission's Creation

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Number of Claims Received in 2017

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Number of Hearings Conducted since Commission's Creation*

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Exonerations**

*Data compiled June 30, 2017

*The hearings for Leon Brown, Henry McCollum, and Edward McInnis were conducted as Motions for Appropriate Relief based on the Commission’s investigation. **Ten individuals have been exonerated as a result of the Commission’s investigations.

Convictions Resulting from Trial or Guilty Plea

• Alford and no contest pleas are included in plea category.
• N/A is for individuals who apply but have not been convicted.

Applicants’ Convictions
 

• Some applicants were convicted of multiple offenses.

Applicants’ Innocence Claims

• Some applicants made multiple innocence claims.
• It is important to note that several of these categories do not fit the statutory requirement for actual innocence and result in an automatic rejection.

Reasons for Rejection
 

• Some cases were rejected for more than one reason.

Commission Staff

Lindsey Guice Smith


Executive Director

Lindsey Guice Smith


Executive Director

Sharon Stellato


Associate Director


Sharon Stellato


Associate Director

Brian Ziegler


Staff Attorney

Brian Ziegler


Staff Attorney

Julie Bridenstine


Legal Investigator


Julie Bridenstine


Legal Investigator


Catherine Matoian


Grant Staff Attorney

Catherine Matoian


Grant Staff Attorney

Jason Fitts


Case Coordinator

Jason Fitts


Case Coordinator

Donna Rowe


Administrative Assistant

Donna Rowe


Administrative Assistant