News 06.16.08

Nine years of freedom for Atlanta man

Nine years ago, Calvin Johnson was freed from a Georgia prison after serving more than 15 years for a crime he didn’t commit. Today, he has a wife and daughter, he serves on the boards of the Innocence Project and the Georgia Innocence Project, he has published a memoir, “Exit to Freedom,” and he works as a supervisor for the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority. Last year he received the Innocence Project’s first Freedom & Justice Award, and spoke at the ceremony about the suffering he endured while wrongfully incarcerated and the slow process of rebuilding a life after release.

Watch his speech here

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Today, Johnson says he is proud to be a leader in the innocence movement and a mentor to newly released exonerees. But he also wants to see more states – including his own – pass laws to support exonerees as they face the hard road of building a new life after years, or decades, away from society. While three states (Connecticut, Florida and Utah) have enacted new compensation laws in the last two months, Johnson’s home state of Georgia is still one of the 25 states without a law compensating the exonerated upon their release.

And among the 25 states with compensation laws, many are woefully outdated and inadequate

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Other exoneration anniversaries this week:



Sunday:

Jerry Townsend

, Florida (Served 21.5 years, Exonerated 6/15/01)

Tuesday:

Kenneth Wyniemko

, Michigan (Served 8.5 Years, Exonerated 6/17/03)

Friday:

Kevin Green

, California (Served 15.5 years, Exonerated 6/20/96)

Saturday:

James Giles

, Texas (Served 10 years, Exonerated 6/21/07)


Armand Villasana

, Missouri (Served 7 months, Exonerated 6/21/00)

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