James Bain Set For Release Based on DNA Test Results Proving Innocence
Bain has Served Over 35 Years for a Rape he Did Not Commit
Tallahassee, Florida—On Thursday, December 17, 2009, James Bain is set for release following a short hearing in front of Tenth Judicial Circuit Judge James Yancey. The State Attorney and Bain’s attorneys will jointly ask for the release before Christmas while the State Attorney completes his review of the exonerative DNA testing results and any additional DNA testing he chooses to perform.
“It is a blessing that James will not miss his 36th Christmas with his family. We commend the State Attorney for taking an objective look at these DNA test results and swiftly pursuing justice in this case,” said Bain’s local counsel, Bob Young, General Counsel in the office of J. Marion Moorman, Public Defender of the Tenth Judicial Circuit.
On December 9, 2009, attorneys from the Innocence Project of Florida and the Tenth Judicial Circuit Public Defender released a DNA testing report issued by DNA Diagnostics Center, a nationally recognized forensic laboratory in Fairfield, Ohio, which demonstrates Bain’s actual innocence of a 1974 kidnapping and rape of a nine-year-old boy in Lake Wales, Polk County, Florida. Judge Yancey ordered testing on DNA of sperm found on the child’s underwear worn during the rape after the State Attorney agreed to the testing. The testing excluded James Bain as the donor of the sperm, confirming that someone other than Bain raped the victim. Bain’s 35 years of wrongful incarceration is the longest served of any of the 246 DNA exonerees nationwide.
“The State Attorney deserves credit for understanding the import of these results and not letting his review of the independent testing delay justice for Mr. Bain. We fully expect that when the State Attorney’s review is complete, he will share our conclusion that Mr. Bain is actually innocent and we will work closely with the State Attorney to make this exoneration happen as efficiently as possible,” said Seth Miller, Executive Director of the Innocence Project of Florida.
Bain was convicted in 1974 when the jury rejected his alibi evidence (he was home with his sister) in favor of the eye-witness identification of the nine-year-old victim. The jury also heard conflicting testimony about ABO blood grouping, but believed the little boy to the exclusion of the other evidence. According to the Innocence Project of Florida, witness misidentification and faulty forensics are two of the leading causes of wrongful convictions. Specifically, witness misidentification is the leading cause, contributing to almost 80% of the 246 wrongful convictions later overturned by DNA testing nationwide.
Bain tried numerous times to file his own, hand-written requests for DNA testing since 2001. Until the agreement of this State Attorney in October 2009, he was rebuffed by the courts at every turn. “Today’s outcome is a testament to the strength and perseverance that Jamie has exhibited throughout his whole wrongful incarceration. We are so pleased to reunite him with his family after this ordeal and are excited to work with him to transition back into free society.”
The Innocence Project of Florida (IPF) is a 501©(3) organization dedicated to finding and freeing innocent people in Florida prisons. IPF, along with Robert Young, General Counsel for the Tenth Judicial Circuit Public Defender, J. Marion Moorman, represents James Bain. IPF’s website is www.FloridaInnocence.org.
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