Paul J. Ciolino is a lifelong resident of the Chicago area. Owner of Paul J. Ciolino Associates, Inc. specializes in complex criminal defense and fraud investigations. Ciolino's participation in wrongful conviction investigations has helped free five men from death row in Illinois. A stunning videotaped homicide confession that he obtained from a double murder suspect in February of 1999 has been seen on most major television outlets in the Western Hemisphere. He has been the subject of dozens of newspaper and magazine articles in the United States, Canada, Europe, South America and Australia. CBS News Anchor Dan Rather has called Ciolino "One of America's Top Five Investigators."
He is licensed in Illinois. He has earned a number of professional designations such as: Certified Fraud Examiner, Certified International Investigator, and Board Certified Forensic Examiner (Fellow). He has given dozens of speeches on a diverse array of investigative topics ranging from debunking experts, to investigative ethics, to child homicide, sexual abuse, repressed memories, and death penalty investigations. A seven-year U.S. Army veteran, and the former Chief Investigator of the child homicide team for the Illinois Department of Children & Family Services, he is an adjunct lecturer at the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois and Columbia College, Journalism Department in Chicago. He has also been a guest lecturer at Yale Law School. He was also one of the co-founders and primary instructors on investigative tactics at the first Conference on Wrongful Convictions and the Death Penalty held at Northwestern Law School in Chicago, Illinois.
Ciolino was the primary investigative advisor to the Innocence Projects at: Northwestern Law School, The Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University, and DePaul University, Center for Justice in Capitol Cases, College of Law, all in Chicago.
Ciolino is the author of In The Company of Giants: The Ultimate Investigation Guide For Legal Professionals, Journalists & The Wrongly Convicted. He is the co-author of the best selling and critically acclaimed textbook Advanced Forensic Civil Investigations published by Lawyers and Judges Publishing Company. He is also the co-author of Advanced Forensic Criminal Defense Investigations which was published in November of 1999. His articles on investigative topics have been published worldwide. He is a three-time winner of NALI's annual Editor-Publisher Award for best articles published in their educational journal, The Legal Investigator. He appears regularly on FOX, CNN, MSNBC, as well as CBS, NBC, and ABC.
He is the 1999 "Dante Award" recipient, the first non-journalist to win this award that has been presented by The Joint Civic Committee of Italian Americans for the past twenty-nine years. The award is presented to an individual, "who is fearless in his pursuit of justice". Ciolino has also been awarded the first "Advocate for Justice Award" which is presented by the Illinois Attorneys for Criminal Justice, and the 1999 "Louisiana Investigator of the Year" award. In August of 1999 Ciolino was awarded the prestigious "International Investigator of the Year" award by The Council of International Investigators.
In 1999, Illinois Governor George Ryan issued the first ever moratorium on the death penalty in the United States after Ciolino
obtained a video-taped confession in a 1981 double homicide case. As a result of that investigation and confession, Anthony Porter was released from death row in Illinois after having served eighteen years for a crime that he had not committed.
Ciolino is a past president of the National Association of Legal Investigators, Inc. (NALI), is on the Board of Directors for the Council of International Investigators, and is a past President and Life Member of the Special Agents Association in Chicago