Here is a roundup of some highlights in the news recently about exonerations or exonerees who are building their lives after prison.
Exoneree Brian Banks who famously made his way back to the NFL and football recently has unfortunately been cut from the Atlanta Falcons roster. Banks played during the preseason, and recorded two tackles in a game August 9th. Although this is a setback in Banks’ improbable quest for an NFL roster spot, he has not let this news discourage him as he will be a free agent available to another team in need of a linebacker. The Atlanta Falcons administration appreciates Banks’ effort and heart, and has said that there is a role for Banks at the Atlanta Falcons whether on the field or not. More information can be found at ESPN.
In Clark County Washington Alan Northrop expressed his gratitude recently when receiving news about his forthcoming compensation for the 17 years he spent wrongfully imprisoned. Through DNA evidence and support from the Innocence Project Northwest, Northrop was freed. For more information about Northrop visit The Columbian.
After being in prison for 17 years, 12 of which were on death row, for a crime he did not commit , Randy Steidl now enjoys his freedom more than most. Steidl has taken to touring the country and giving speeches on the death penalty and its implications. More information can be found at WDRB.com.
Exoneree James Kluppleberg has been out of prison for more than a year and yet he still struggles to provide for himself and his family due to the stigma of being incarcerated. He explains that the general public does not understand the concept of exoneration. Kluppleberg applied for a written certificate from the state proving his innocence and exoneration. On August 6, 2013 Kluppelberg received that certificate and will now hopefully find an easier path to leading a normal life. Read more at CBS Chicago.
A student who was detained by the DEA for five days without food or water has recently won a lawsuit granting him $4.1 million in damages. What’s troubling about this award is whether or not he will have to pay taxes to the IRS on it. Read more about Daniel Chong at Forbes Magazine.
Sharon Snyder, an employee of a local clerk of court, was recently fired for passing a document describing in detail how to file a request for postconviction DNA testing to Robert Nelson. Nelson had been in prison since 1984 and Snyder’s vital act of sharing information ended up allowing Nelson to obtain exonerative DNA results that led to the overturning of his wrongful conviction. Read more at The Huffington Post.
Under what appear to be shady circumstances, the presiding judge in a case of a soon-to-be exonerated prisoner in Chicago, Stanley Wrice, has just recused herself for seemingly personal reasons. Wrice was beaten and tortured into a confessing to a gang rape in 1982. Judge Evelyn Clay was presiding over Wrice’s proceeding when suddenly she was called to meet with her superior. After said meeting Clay stated that she had personal knowledge of those involved and could no longer be the judge in charge. Rumors abound that Clay’s superior has/had ties to former Mayor Daly’s (who’s brother is currently running for Governor of Illinois) and that those ties influenced the recusal decision. Read more at The Huffington Post Chicago.