Category Archives: Life after exoneration

Tuesday’s Quick Clicks

A new study suggests that North Carolina’s reckless use of the death penalty threatens the innocent…

Exonerated death row inmate Glenn Ford died yesterday a year after being released from prison…

In Alaska, an inmate’s confession promises new trial for the Fairbanks Four…

Thursday’s Quick Clicks…

A Profile in Courage – Ricky Jackson’s 39 Years in Prison

This past Wednesday, I was privileged to be present when Ricky Jackson addressed a group of people at the University of Cincinnati. In November, 2014, Ricky, along with two of his boyhood friends, the Bridgeman brothers, was exonerated of a murder he did not commit, and for which he spent 39 years in prison, including 2 1/2 years on death row.  See the previous WCB coverage of this here. I was so moved, that I felt compelled to write about my impressions.

Ricky spoke at some length about his experiences, his feelings about it all, and his perspectives and future plans.  I must say he is eloquent, articulate, intelligent, compassionate, humorous, and possessed of humility. He is the kind of person I would be honored to call a friend.

I won’t try to relate the details of his case or his experiences. For that, please check the link cited above, and the links within that article.  But know that I sat there in wonder as he spoke about all this without the slightest trace of anger, resentment, or bitterness. How a person can endure what he did, and come out of it with his attitude and perspective is just about incomprehensible to me.

I have to wonder also what this man might have accomplished during those 39 years had he not been in prison. Those 39 years were stolen not just from Ricky Jackson, but from us – all of us – because this is a man who clearly has the ability to have a positive influence on other people and on society as a whole. I’m sure Ricky has very definite knowledge of what this has cost him, but we’ll never know what this has cost us. And on top of that . . . the real murderers are still out there.

And of course, this begs the question – how many more Ricky Jackson’s are there still in prison in this country?

 

Tuesday’s Quick Clicks…

Exonerees Earn Law Degrees; Become Innocence Attorneys

Many exonerees, upon release from prison, undertake some form of innocence work. After all, being wrongfully convicted and incarcerated has to qualify as one of the most profoundly life-altering events a person can endure. So it’s not surprising that many dedicate the rest of their lives to trying to fix the broken system that wronged them so terribly.

There are even some who go on to earn a law degree, so they can confront the system in a personal and “head-on” way. Several of these “JD-carrying” exonerees were featured in the recent edition of the American Bar Association Journal.  See the article from the ABA Journal here.

 

Monday’s Quick Clicks…

Wednesday’s Quick Clicks…

  • State of Mississippi to make pay outs in more than a dozen wrongful conviction cases
  • Pennsylvania Innocence Project wins new trial for woman convicted 42 years ago on flawed arson science
  • Charges dropped against California Innocence Project client Michael Hanline, who is the longest serving wrongfully convicted Californian
  • Ronald Cotton and Jennifer Thompson honored for courage by DOJ
  • Well-done video from British TV about Ohio Innocence Project’s recent new trial wins for Wheatt, Glover and Johnson based on flawed gun-shot residue evidence and Brady violations
  • New Yorker article on compensation for the wrongfully convicted
  • Exoneree Martin Tankleff mulls run for Congress

Debra Milke Speaks

Today, Debra Milke, exonerated after 22 years on Arizona’s death row for the murder of her 4 year old son, appeared and spoke at a press event.

See her very eloquent press conference statements here. And see the remarks from her attorney, Lori Voepel, here.

Tuesday’s Quick Clicks…

Tuesday’s Quick Clicks…

Monday’s Quick Clicks…

$9.2 Million Awarded in Wrongful Conviction that Underscores FBI Forensic Problems

February 28, 2015 – Yesterday Washington D.C. Superior Court Judge Neal E. Kravitz ordered $9.2 million be paid by the District to Kirk L. Odom, 52, in compensation for more than 21 years of imprisonment after he was wrongfully convicted of a 1981 Capital Hill rape and burglary. The Washington Post reported (here) that “Odom is one of five D.C. men convicted of rape or murder whose charges have been vacated since 2009 because they were based on erroneous forensics and testimony by an elite unit of FBI hair experts.”

In his District-record award, the judge provided one formula for calculating compensation damages: $1,000 per day for wrongful incarceration, $250 per day for parole time and $200 for each day between his exoneration and trial. The article noted that Judge Kravitz’s opinion comes “as courts are coming to terms Continue reading

Wednesday’s Quick Clicks…

Thursday’s Quick Clicks…

Generosity of Strangers…

Just a quick post about the generosity we sometimes see from the public after exonerations.   As I previously posted, after Ohio Innocence Project client Ricky Jackson, was exonerated, strangers from around the world came together to raise nearly 60k for Ricky to help him start his new life.

More recently, the good folks at the Cleveland Eye Clinic contacted me out of the blue and offered free eye services—lasik surgery, glasses, contacts, etc.–to Ricky and his two exonerated co-defendants, Wiley Bridgeman and Kwami Ajamu.  They didn’t ask for anything in return, but I wanted to give them a shout-out here for stepping up and helping out some good guys in need.  Kudos.  We need more like them.

Wiley Bridgeman and Kwami Ajamu with the staff at Cleveland Eye Clinic

Wiley Bridgeman and Kwami Ajamu with the staff at Cleveland Eye Clinic

 

Wednesday’s Quick Clicks…

Strangers Around the World Donate Nearly $57k to Help Newly Exonerated Man Get New Start

Less than 2 weeks ago, Ricky Jackson and his co-defendants, Wiley and Ronnie Bridgeman, were exonerated in a Cleveland court after serving nearly 40 years in prison for a murder they didn’t commit.  Prior to exoneration, the Ohio Innocence Project, which represented Jackson, set up a gofundme.com account for Ricky.  Since that time, nearly $57,000 has been donated to help Ricky get a new start.  More than $44k was donated directly on http://www.gofundme.com/rickyjackson, while another $12.5k was donated to Ricky outside of the website, through the OIP’s Phoenix Initiative fund.  Donations came in from all over the world, after the case received international press.  More than 15k has been donated to Wiley Bridgeman’s fund.

Because of the generosity of strangers, Ricky will have enough money to buy a car and get an apartment, and take his time receiving training in order to get a job, without being homeless and destitute in the meantime.

Thanks to everyone for this amazing show of support.

Donate to Rick here:  http://www.gofundme.com/rickyjackson

Donate to his Wiley Bridgeman here:  http://www.gofundme.com/wiley

Monday’s Quick Clicks…

Ricky Jackson Prison Release Video

On Wednesday, November 19, Nancy Petro reported on this blog about the exoneration of Ricky Jackson after 39 years in prison.  See that story here.

CNN has posted a great video of his release from prison.  See the 2 minute CNN video here.

Monday’s Quick Clicks