LINKEDINCOMMENTMORE

BOISE -- An Idaho organization that's worked to free more than a dozen prisoners wrongfully convicted is facing a major financial crisis.

The Idaho Innocence Project says it will lose most of its federal funding at the end of this year.

Director Greg Hampikian says he'll keep volunteering and researching DNA evidence - no matter what.

But, the organization will lose its two full-time positions and will be unable to take on any new cases.

For the past seven years the Idaho Innocence Project has looked into hundreds of cases, using DNA evidence to help free those convicted, but innocent.

My clients are in prison, they can't even go to the library to research their own case, said Hampikian.

From Amanda Knox in Italy to Sarah Pearce and Chris Tapp in Idaho, Hampikian has worked on cases around the world.

He's help save more than a dozen people from a life behind bars for a crime they didn't commit.

But, starting in 2014 a two-year $220,000 grant from the Department of Justice will run out, forcing cuts to the organization.

It's heartbreaking, you can imagine what it's like if you have someone you love is in prison and you think is innocent, or you yourself are in that position and one of the few organizations who can help you says, We can't look at your case, said Hampikian.

Hampikian says they'll continue work on current cases but won't take on any new investigations. That's because they'll be forced to cut their two full-time legal positions.

Are not going to look at new cases until we have sufficient money to hire a lawyer, and that's really the bottom line, said Hampikian.

Hampikian says they'll keep pushing their project in one way or another, hoping for more money to look into the hundreds of letters they get each year.

I'm a volunteer director, this program, and you hate to see your funding dwindled to such a degree, but it happens, said Hampikian.

The Idaho Innocence Project is pretty unique; it's one of the few statewide organizations that takes cases from other states, and even other countries.

In fact, Hampikian has helped start Innocence Projects across the world including one in Ireland and one in France.

The organization is now is desperate need of private donations, as well as volunteers.

LINKEDINCOMMENTMORE
Read or Share this story: http://www.ktvb.com/story/news/local/2014/07/02/12042335/