Nine Years Free


Wednesday marked the ninth anniversary of Herman Atkins’ exoneration in California. After serving nearly 12 years in prison for a rape he didn’t commit, Atkins was freed on February 18, 2000 based on DNA testing proving his innocence.

He was wrongfully convicted of 1988 of a robbery and rape. After the crime in the spring of 1986, the victim was taken to the police station and shown several photos in an identification procedure. She did not identify anyone, but saw a photo of Atkins elsewhere in the station. After identifying the other photo, the victim was shown a photo lineup including Atkins and identified him again.

Since his exoneration, Atkins has graduated from college and gotten married. He and his wife, Machara, have started the Life Interventions for Exonerees foundation to help exonerees get back on their feet after their release. This week, LIFE launched its new website, at


Atkins wrote last year on the Innocence Blog

about why he and Machara founded the Life Foundation.

Other Exoneration Anniversaries This Week:


Peter Rose

, California (Served 8 years, Exonerated (2/18/05)

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