Innocence Project Opens MT Office; ‘Wrongful Convictions Happen’


The Montana Innocence Project has quietly opened its doors in Missoula, reports the Billings Gazette. The project, based on and affiliated with the Innocence Project in New York City, has only one employee, but a cadre of seasoned volunteers is on board and the group has forged agreements with the University of Montana. “What we are really about is improving the quality of justice in Montana,” said Jessie McQuillan, the group’s executive director. “We want to work with people throughout the justice system to make sure innocent people aren’t convicted. That’s a goal we feel that everyone is in favor of.”

While Montana hasn’t had a huge number of high-profile cases where people have been wrongly convicted, there have been a few. The most prominent, the case of Jimmy Ray Bromgard, ended with Bromgard being released after serving 15 years for a rape he didn’t commit. McQuillan said neither she nor others involved with the Montana Innocence Project believe there are hordes of innocent prisoners locked away in the state’s jails and prisons, but that even one is too many. “The vast majority of people convicted in Montana are guilty,” she said. “However, as the Innocence Project has found nationally, wrongful conviction can and does happen.”


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