James Bain has spent the majority of his life in prison. He was just nineteen when he was wrongly convicted of rape and kidnapping. He was finally released on December 17th, 2009, and was honored this week by the Philadelphia Martin Luther King, Jr. Association for Non-Violence.
James Bain’s is one of many cases taken up by The Innocence Project, a national organization working to free wrongly convicted people from prison through use of DNA testing. The organization works for criminal justice reform; they not only work to free the innocently incarcerated, they hope to help fix what they see as serious defects in the criminal justice system.
According to The Innocence Project’s mission statement “249 people in the United States have been exonerated by DNA testing, including 17 who served time on death row.”
While he has endured more than most of us can imagine, Bain remains positive in the video above from CNN, where he appears with one of his Innocence Project attorneys. “I’m not angry” Bain says.
We would also like to share The Innocence Project press release announcing Bain’s award and ceremony on January 18:
On Monday, January 18, 2010, James Bain will be honored by the Philadelphia Martin Luther King, Jr. Association for Non-Violence as an honorary Bell Ringer and recipient of the 2010 Drum Major Award for Criminal Justice. Recent DNA test results proved that James was actually innocent of a 1974 Florida rape. He was released from prison on December 17, 2009 after spending 35 years wrongfully incarcerated for a crime he didn’t commit. Attorneys from the Innocence Project of Florida and the Tenth Judicial Circuit Public Defender represented James in his quest for freedom.
“For 35 years of wrongful incarceration, Jamie exhibited the strength and perseverance that is the embodiment of the struggle for liberty which was central to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s mission. It is fitting that he has been chosen to ring the Liberty Bell to honor Dr. King’s legacy,” said Seth Miller, Executive Director of the Innocence Project of Florida.
James is one of the most recent of 249 individuals proven innocent through the use of DNA testing nationwide. “Dr. King is one of my heroes. I am humbled to ring the Liberty Bell in his honor and share my story with the people of Philadelphia,” said Bain.
The bell ringing ceremony took place at 12:00 noon on Monday, January 18, 2010 at The Liberty Bell Center in Philadelphia.