October 21, 2011273 EXONERATED
We have wonderful news to share: This afternoon, our client Henry James (pictured at right) walked out of the Louisiana State Penitentiary in Angola a free man for the first time in three decades. DNA tests prove his innocence of a 1981 rape, and last night a judge overturned his conviction.
Right now, he is on his way to New Orleans to greet supporters and talk with the media about the injustice he suffered and his plan to build a life at age 50, after losing 30 years in prison for a crime he did not commit.
James was arrested and charged with rape in 1981 after the victim misidentified him as the perpetrator. His conviction was based on faulty evidence, and it took the miraculous discovery of missing evidence to clear him. Blood type tests pointed to his innocence, but his defense attorney failed to share those results with the jury.
The Innocence Project accepted James’ case in 2005, but several searches for evidence proved fruitless. Then, in May 2010, James had an incredible stroke of luck. That day, a lab worker named Milton Dureau was looking for evidence in a different case when he stumbled upon a slide from James’ case. Fortunately, he remembered James’ case number from his earlier search. The evidence was sent to a lab, where DNA testing proved James’ innocence.
James will now begin the long process of building a new life after so many years lost to wrongful incarceration. Send him a note of support today to welcome him home.
James’ legal team includes the Innocence Project, our partners at the Innocence Project New Orleans and Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP.
The Innocence Project Team