Imagine the horror of learning that your spouse had been attacked and brutally beaten. Now imagine that you are accused of committing the heinous crime and sentenced to spend time in prison. This nightmare scenario may sound like the plot of a new movie, but it was the reality for a man who in 1996 was wrongly convicted and imprisoned for the attempted murder of his wife and mother of his five children.

Nine years after being locked behind bars, the man was freed after a judge ordered his release. Another man had confessed to the crime, a crime for which the loving husband and father had been convicted. Upon his release, the once happy father was a changed man.

Bitter and hardened by his years in prison, the man struggled to find his place in society and in the lives of his five children. The anger which he suppressed for years bubbled to the surface as he realized how much he had missed out on in his children’s lives. Today, the man still struggles with the demons of his past and the wrongful conviction that cost him his freedom, family and faith in humanity.

Recently, a judge awarded the man $5.5 million in restitution related to the wrongful conviction and time he spent behind bars. Despite the sizable sum and luxurious life it could afford, the man claims he would trade everything to get back the time with his children.

This case is a sad reminder of the failures of the American criminal justice system. In many cases, human errors and presumptions of guilt outweigh facts. This case proves why it’s critical to hire a criminal defense attorney when facing criminal charges.

Source: The Syracuse Post-Standard, ”
Wrongly imprisoned nearly a decade, father plays catch-up with his five kids,” John O’Brien, May 13, 2013