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 2,500 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 2021

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Number of Hearings Conducted since Commission's Creation

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Exonerations*

*Data compiled July 1, 2021

*Includes individuals exonerated as a result of the Commission’s investigations either through a post-conviction three-judge panel or a Motion for Appropriate Relief and governor’s pardon of innocence.

Convictions Resulting from Trial or 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

Beth Tanner

Associate Director

Brian Ziegler

Staff Attorney

Julie Bridenstine

Staff Attorney

Catherine Matoian

Grant Staff Attorney

Jason Fitts

Case Coordinator

Mackenzie Myers

Grant Legal Investigator

Emma Paul

Victim Services Coordinator

Kristie Parker

Administrative Assistant

Corinne Fowler

Grant Staff Attorney