The Commission’s governing statute is found in Article 92 of the North Carolina General Statutes.


These Rules and Procedures serve as a guideline for all functions of the Commission and the Commission staff.


Case Progression Flowchart

Click here to download a PDF version of the Case Progression Flowchart

Frequently Asked Questions

All of the following criteria must be met before an innocence claim may be investigated:

  1. Conviction must have been in a North Carolina state court. N.C. G.S. 15A-1460(1).
  2. Conviction must be for a felony. N.C. G.S. 15A-1460(1).
  3. Applicant must be a living person. N.C. G.S. 15A-1460(1).
  4. Applicant must be claiming complete factual innocence for any criminal responsibility for the crime. N.C. G.S. 15A-1460(1).
  5. Credible evidence of innocence must exist. N.C. G.S. 15A-1460(1).
  6. Verifiable evidence of innocence must exist. N.C. G.S. 15A-1460(1).
  7. Claim must not have been previously heard at trial or in a post-conviction hearing. N.C. G.S. 15A-1460(1).
  8. Applicant must sign agreement pursuant to § 15A-1467.
According to N.C. G.S. 15A-1467(a)., a claim of factual innocence for any conviction may be referred to the Commission by any court, a State or local agency, or a claimant’s counsel.  A claim of factual innocence for convictions for homicides, robberies, sex offenses requiring registration, or any other Class A through Class E felony may be made directly by the claimant.
Most claims are made directly by the claimant.  A claimant’s friend or family member may not initiate a claim, however they may provide our contact information to the claimant and suggest her or she write to us.

Click here for our contact information: Contact Us

There are no specific forms for initiating a claim. 

If you are a court, state or local agency, defendant’s counsel, please call or write the Commission to refer the case.

If you are a defendant, please send a letter to the Commission requesting a questionnaire.  Please remember, you must be claiming complete factual innocence of the crime for which you are convicted and any lesser related crimes in order for the Commission to review your case.

If you are a friend or family member, please ask the defendant to send a letter to the Commission requesting a questionnaire.  You may contact the Commission, however, you may not refer a case.  We will take any information that you provide and contact the defendant directly to determine whether he/she would like to file a claim with the Commission.  Commission cases are confidential and we are unable to provide you with any information regarding the claim.

Each claim is unique, therefore a timeframe for completion of the review cannot be given.  Please look at the Case Progression Flowchart to see how the cases are processed.  Claims that make it through the initial review phase may involve a lengthy review and investigation.
The North Carolina Innocence Inquiry Commission was created by the legislature to investigate cases where new evidence of complete factual innocence has emerged since conviction.  We cannot review sentencing, technical or procedural trial errors.  If you believe there was an error in your trial or your sentence, please contact North Carolina Prisoner Legal Services at:
North Carolina Prisoner Legal Services, Inc.

Post Office Box 25397

Raleigh, North Carolina 27611

Annual Reports

The Commission provides an annual report to the General Assembly.